An Introduction to Medicare and Diabetes

Learn how Medicare provides coverage for people with diabetes. Includes recommendations for more information around the web.


Your diabetes coverage begins with Medicare Part B

There are four parts to Medicare for most people: Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D. Part A provides hospital coverage; that is, it helps pay for your costs as a patient for hospital stays. Part B is medical coverage that pays for doctor-related services. Part C is a blend of private insurance and government coverage. Part D is a program to help pay for prescription drugs. Your diabetes care probably is associated with services from your physician (including lab work, tests, etc.), and that falls under Medicare Part B.

In addition, your Part B coverage includes diabetic supplies like test strips, lancets and monitors. The amount of coverage can vary, depending on issues such as insulin usage, and where you live (in the case of insulin pumps).

Part B can also pay for some preventative services. These are different from the actual treatment your doctor orders. Examples of preventative services would be diagnostic screenings for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Professional nutrition therapy and diabetes self-management programs , might be covered by Part B as well.

The Cost of Medicare Part B

Coverage under this part of Medicare is optional. You must choose Part B and pay and pay a monthly premium. (In 2013 the monthly charge for most people was $104.90.) If you receive Social Security, the monthly premiums can be deducted by the government from your SS funds.

You can receive Medicare from the other parts without choosing Part B. Watch out, though, because if you DO NOT choose Part B when you join Medicare, and then decide later you would like Part B coverage, you might have to pay a penalty.

The Other Medicare coverage that is important for diabetics: Part D

Part D is help with prescription costs. As a diabetic, you probably take multiple prescription drugs every day. On this page, however, we are focusing on Medicare Part D.

Web pages and sites to provide more information:
  • Medicare: American Diabetes Association©

    source: American Diabetes Association
    languages: English, Spanish
    Basic info about all parts of Medicare, with a focus on diabetes care, supplies, and insulin.
  • Medicare Supplier Directory - Find a Supplier

    source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    languages: English, Spanish
    This is the starting page to locate a Medicare contract supplier for Mail-Order Diabetic Supplies, which, according to the website, "helps you and Medicare save money, and Helps limit fraud and abuse in the Medicare Program." The steps you'll need to follow to locate a supplier in your area are moderately difficult. See our recommended instructions below.

    1. Go to Medicare Supplier Directory - Find a Supplier
    2. Enter your zip code in the box labeled "Type in Zip code." Click on "GO".
    3. When you arrive at a page which displays the various categories of supplies and equipment in the program. You'll see box labeled "Competitive Bid Categories". Click on the checkbox titled "Mail-Order Diabetic Supplies". Scroll down the page until you see a button titled "Search". Click on the search button.
    4. You will arrive at a results page. Click in the blue box that says "Mail Order Diabetic Supplies". A list of suppliers in your area will appear.
  • Medicare's Coverage of Diabetes Supplies & Services

    source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (
    language: English; pdf booklet, 32pp
    Printed September 2013 - watch for a more current update. Contact, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to get the most current information.

    This booklet explains Medicare coverage of diabetes supplies and services in Original Medicare and with Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).
DibbernsWhy this website?

We are a family of senior adults, with all the health issues of the average older American. Medicare has been a factor in our lives, as it is for millions of people like us. This website exists to offer plain talk, simple introductions to the maze of details that make up the Medicare program.

We aren't experts- we'll leave that to the real experts-- for the more complicated rules and issues of Medicare. What you'll find here is a beginning point. A start in your Medicare journey.

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Medicare & You Where is this topic in 'Medicare & You 2015'?

Diabetes screening, self-management training, and supplies are on pages 46 and 47.

You should have received a copy of 'Medicare & You 2015' in the mail. If you don't have your copy, call 800-803-7174. Download a pdf version.

This video is from the US Government Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. If you've already been diagnosed with diabetes, Medicare covers the cost of many of your supplies and self-management training as well as diabetes screening. (Opens in a new tab.)

Medicare and Diabetes in the news...

A possible alternative to Standard Medicare for people with diabetes

We can't go thumbs-up or thumbs-down on this, but it might be worthwhile to explore. There are special Medicare Advantage (Part C) policies that provide coverage for medical and prescription expenses for people with specialized health needs like diabetes. They are called Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (SNP). Be careful, these policies can be complicated.

Here's a link to a news story in The Clarion Ledger of Jackson, MS: Medicare plan offers help for seniors with diabetes