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Does Medicare cover diabetes education?

Medicare covers diabetes education services, also known as self-management training and medical nutrition therapy for enrollees with diabetes. Upon the diagnosis of diabetes, or one-time as an enrollee in the Medicare program, a Medicare enrollee is entitled to receive 10 hours of diabetes education. When prescribed by a physician and provided by an appropriately recognized healthcare provider or program, this education will usually occur in a group setting. After this initial training and when prescribed by a physician, a patient can receive up to 2 hours of additional training each year. A physician can also order medical nutrition therapy for a patient with diabetes. A physician can order up to 3 hours of medical nutrition therapy for a patient with diabetes in the first year of diagnosis and 2 hours a year in subsequent years.

In addition, all American citizens over age 65, the disabled and individuals with end-stage renal disease who purchase Medicare Part B coverage and/or Medicare managed care policies are eligible for the following:

  • Blood glucose testing supplies
  • Blood glucose monitors
  • Blood glucose test strips
  • Lancets
  • Spring loaded lancet devices
  • Glucose control solution for calibrating meters

However, some limitations apply, including:

  • All patients with diabetes are entitled, upon receipt of a physician's prescription, to a blood glucose monitor for the life of the monitor.
  • Patients treated with insulin are eligible for 100 blood glucose test strips and 100 lancets per month.
  • Patients not treated with insulin are eligible for up to 100 test strips and 100 lancets every 3 months.
  • Physicians may prescribe more test strips, but they must document their patients' need for additional testing supplies in writing. A physician must renew documentation of this need every six months.

For more information on Medicare, call the Medicare hotline at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). For a more detailed explanation of Med­icare, ask for a free copy of the Medicare & You handbook and check out the Medicare Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.