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How does Medicare cover blood sugar testing supplies?

If you have diabetes, Medicare Part B covers blood sugar self-testing equipment for you. This is true even if you do not use insulin. These supplies include:

  • Blood sugar monitors
  • Blood sugar test strips
  • Lancet devices and lancets
  • Tools to see if testing equipment and test strips are accurate

How often can I get supplies?

Medicare covers different amounts of supplies based on whether you use insulin. If you use insulin, you can get up to:

  • 100 test strips and lancets each month
  • 1 lancet device every 6 months

If you do not use insulin, you may be able to get up to:

  • 100 test strips every 3 months
  • 1 lancet every 6 months

What if you need more?

You can get more test strips and lancets if your doctor says they are medically necessary for you.

How do I get these supplies?

Your doctor must give you a prescription for your blood sugar self-testing equipment and supplies. Your prescription should say:

  • If you have diabetes
  • The kind of blood sugar monitor you need and why
  • If you use insulin
  • How often you should test your blood sugar
  • How many test strips and lancets you need for 1 month

Where do I get these supplies?

You can:

  1. Order and pick up your supplies at your drugstore.
  2. Order supplies from a medical equipment supplier. A supplier is a company, person or agency that offers them outside of a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

You must place this order yourself, using your doctor's prescription. Your doctor cannot order supplies for you.   

Note: Ask if your drugstore or supplier is enrolled in Medicare. If it is not, you will have to pay the whole cost for any supplies. This will cost you much more.

When you need refills of your supplies, you have to ask your drugstore or supplier for them. This is just like you do to refill your drugs.

You must get a new prescription from your doctor for your test strips and lancets every 12 months.

Medicare will not pay for any supplies you did not ask for.

What will the supplies cost?

After you have paid your annual Medicare Part B deductible, you pay only 20 % of the amount Medicare approves for the supplies.

How are my supplies paid for?

Some drugstores and suppliers accept assignment for Medicare. This means that Medicare will pay them directly for your supplies. You do not have to submit any claims forms. You pay only your coinsurance amount when you get your supplies. This saves you money.

If your drugstore or supplier does not accept assignment, you may have to pay more for your supplies. You also may have to pay the entire cost up front. You would have to wait for Medicare to send you its share of the cost.

Before you order supplies, ask your drugstore or supplier:

  • Are you enrolled in Medicare?
  • Do you accept assignment?

If the answer is no to either question, you have a right to call another supplier or drugstore that answers yes to both questions.

NEXT: What Insulin Supplies Does Medicare Cover?

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