Does Medicare Cover Freestyle Libre? 

Diabetics know that testing their blood often to check glucose levels is important. If blood glucose gets too high or low, the body of a diabetic can experience potentially fatal outcomes. For most diabetics, the traditional method of monitoring blood glucose has been to use a small device that pricks the tip of the finger to draw a drop of blood. This blood is then applied to a test strip that is inserted into a reading device. The device then provides the user with a numerical reading of the level of glucose in the blood.

While this method of monitoring blood glucose works just fine, it can be inconvenient and slightly painful. It also means that missing a test prior to a meal could be potentially harmful, and forgetting to note a reading may lead to the consumption of the wrong foods, once again putting diabetics at risk. Thankfully, people who suffer from diabetes today are able to rely on continuous glucose monitoring systems to ditch the finger sticks and enjoy worry-free monitoring.

What is Continuous Glucose Monitoring?

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is a name given to systems that are able to monitor blood glucose levels 24 hours a day through the use of wireless technology. Most CGM systems, including Freestyle Libre, allow diabetics to monitor glucose through a small piece of equipment that attaches to the body and checks glucose levels at different times throughout the day and night.

The equipment then wirelessly transmits glucose level data to a nearby receiver where levels are recorded. If blood glucose is found to be outside of the normal threshold, the user can be alerted and appropriate action can be taken.

Does Medicare Cover Freestyle Libre?

Original Medicare coverage for durable medical equipment (DME) like Freestyle Libre is supplied through Part B. In order for DME to qualify for Medicare benefits, it must be medically necessary and be purchased from a Medicare-approved supplier. In the case of the Freestyle Libre, Medicare covers 80% of the cost of the system while Medicare recipients cover the remaining 20%.

Freestyle Libre utilizes special patches that attach to the skin. Each patch uses a thin needle that inserts into the body to collect blood glucose data. These patches can send readings back to a monitor, but they can also be used to transmit readings to a smartphone app. Medicare Part B covers not only the receiver, but also the patches; however, quantities are limited per month or benefit period.

Medicare Coverage for supportive diabetic therapies

Diabetic Medicare recipients can also receive benefits from Original Medicare in the form of outpatient and inpatient care. Outpatient care is provided through Medicare Part B, and inpatient care is provided by Medicare Part A.

If prescription drugs are required to treat a diabetic condition or complication of diabetes, Medicare Part D supplies benefits. Part D coverage applies to medications that you can purchase from a regular pharmacy. Drugs that are administered in a clinical setting like a doctor’s office may be covered through Medicare Part B, and medications given during inpatient care in a hospital may be covered by Medicare Part A.

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