The Norman Transcript

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February 19, 2013

How Medicare covers diabetes costs

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, What does Medicare cover when it comes to diabetes? I’m 65 and have pre-diabetes and would like to find out what all is covered.

— Fat Albert

Dear Albert,

Medicare actually offers a wide range of coverage to help beneficiaries who have diabetes, as well as those who are at risk of getting it — but they don’t cover everything. Here’s a breakdown of what Medicare covers when it comes to diabetes services and supplies, along with some other tips that can help you save.

· Doctor’s services: If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, Medicare Part B will pay 80 percent of the cost of all doctor’s office visits that are related to diabetes. You are responsible for paying the remaining 20 percent after you’ve met your annual 2013 $147 Part B deductible.

· Screenings: If you don’t currently have diabetes but you do have pre-diabetes or some other health conditions that put you at risk of getting it — such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, are overweight or have a family history of diabetes — Medicare will pay 100 percent of the cost of up to two diabetes screenings every year.

· Education: If you have diabetes, Medicare covers 80 percent of the cost of self-management training (after you meet your Part B deductible) to teach you how to successfully manage your diabetes.

· Supplies and medications: Eighty percent of the cost of glucose monitors, test strips and lancets (100 per month if you use insulin or 33 per month if you don’t), glucose control solutions and insulin (if you use an insulin pump) are covered by Medicare Part B, after you’ve met your deductible.

If, however, you inject insulin with a syringe, Medicare’s Part D prescription drug benefit may help pay your insulin costs and the supplies needed to inject it — if you have a plan. Part D plans also cover most other diabetic medications, too. You’ll need to check your plan for details.

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