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Preventive Services for Diabetics

Medicare covers a range of screenings, exams, and other services that help keep you well. These are called preventive services. They can:

  • Tell if you have diabetes or are at risk for it
  • Keep you healthy
  • Prevent severe health problems caused by diabetes
  • Keep you from getting worse if you have diabetes

Medicare Part B pays most of Medicare’s preventive services. You pay nothing for several of them. You pay a small portion of the cost for others.

What preventive services does Medicare cover for people with diabetes?

If you have diabetes, Medicare covers certain services for you. Your doctor must write an order or referral for you to get some of them, including:

  • Tests to see if you have diabetes, called diabetes screening
  • Training to help you manage your diabetes
  • Advice on what to eat, called medical nutrition therapy services
  • Blood sugar tests, called hemoglobin A1c tests
  • Special eye exams

You do not need an order or referral for these:

Blood sugar tests

A blood sugar test shows your average blood sugar level over the past three months. It is called a hemoglobin A1c test.

This test is one of the best ways to tell how well your diabetes is controlled. Using these test results can help you better control your diabetes. They also can reduce your risk of severe health problems that go along with diabetes.

If you have diabetes, Medicare covers this test when your doctor orders it.

Foot exams and treatments

Diabetes can cause nerve damage to feet. Foot exams can help find this damage early. Then it can be treated early. This could help save the foot from amputation.

People with diabetes who have nerve damage from diabetes in either foot can get a foot exam given by a foot doctor, or podiatrist, or another foot care specialist. Medicare Part B covers one foot exam every 6 months if you qualify. You do not need a written order or referral from your doctor. Medicare may cover more frequent exams if you need them.

After you meet your Medicare Part B deductible, you pay 20% of the cost Medicare approves for this exam.

Special eye exam

A special eye exam, called a dilated eye exam, checks for eye disease or damage to your vision. The exam can help you find eye disease early. Then you can get it treated.

People with Medicare who have diabetes can get this exam. Your doctor must write you an order for Medicare to cover it. An eye doctor who is legally allowed to provide this service in your state must do this exam.

Note: This exam is also one of the ways to test for glaucoma. If you are testing for glaucoma, you do not need an order or referral from your doctor.

Medicare covers this eye exam once a year. First, you must meet your Medicare Part B deductible. Then you pay 20% of the cost Medicare approves for this exam.

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