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Diabetes Screening

What it is

If you have diabetes, your body doesn't make enough insulin or it does not respond to insulin like it should. Insulin is a hormone that changes sugar, starches and other food into the energy you need for daily life. If you don’t have enough insulin, your blood sugar will be too high. A high blood sugar level is not good for your health.

Blood tests can find diabetes. Medicare covers what is called a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test.

Why the screening is important

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Millions of people have diabetes and do not know it. If you have diabetes and your doctor finds it early, he or she may be able to prevent or delay the serious health problems diabetes can cause.

Who is covered

People with any of the following risk factors are covered for this screening:

  • High blood pressure,
  • Dyslipidemia (history of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels),
  • A history of high blood sugar

How often it is covered

The screening is generally covered up to twice a year. Ask your doctor how to get this screening.

What you pay

You pay nothing for cost of this service if you have Original Medicare and you see a doctor who “accepts assignment.” Doctors who accept assignment agree to accept the amount that Medicare will pay for a visit or service (called the Medicare-approved amount) as payment in full.

If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan, the plan cannot charge you for this service as long as you see an “in-network” provider, meaning a doctor who has an agreement to treat people who belong to the plan. If you use a provider outside your plan's network, it may cost you money.

Learn more about Diabetes Screening on Medicare.gov.

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