Blood sugar testing is a way to keep track of how well diabetes is being managed. Test results help to show how food, physical activity and diabetes medications affect blood sugar.
The number of blood sugar tests a person with diabetes may do varies. It depends on the treatment plan. Some people test their blood sugar several times a day. Others test less often. And every blood sugar test uses one test strip. Sometimes extra tests may be needed, such as when starting a new medication or adjusting an insulin dose.
Does Medicare Cover Blood Sugar Test Strips?
Medicare Part B covers blood sugar test strips and some other diabetic supplies such as blood glucose self-testing equipment and supplies, therapeutic shoes and inserts, and insulin pumps and the insulin for the pumps.1
These items are covered for people with diabetes whether or not they take insulin. The only difference is that Medicare generally will cover strips more frequently for people who use insulin. Medicare will also cover blood sugar test strips more often if your doctor documents why it is medically necessary.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you need to make sure to get your diabetic supplies from a supplier that works with your plan. Call your plan for more information.
There are two ways that you can get the blood sugar test strips you need. You can get blood sugar test strips from a Medicare-contracted supplier or at your local pharmacy.
1. Order blood sugar test strips from a Medicare-contracted medical equipment or mail-order supplier.
Medicare will cover blood sugar test strips from a medical supplier, but you will need a prescription from your doctor to place the order.
Medicare also has a mail-order program for diabetic testing supplies. You can enter your ZIP code to find a supplier on the Medicare web site. Check the box for “Mail-Order Diabetic Supplies,” then scroll down and click the Search button. You’ll get a list of contracted suppliers.
You’ll need to check each supplier to see which ones carry what you need. You can usually transfer your prescription to any supplier. Test strips or other diabetic supplies you order can then be mailed to you.
2. Buy blood sugar test strips at a pharmacy that accepts Medicare assignment.
Medicare pays the same amount for diabetic supplies whether you buy them through the mail-order program or from a local pharmacy. You just need to use a pharmacy that accepts Medicare assignment; pharmacies that don’t may charge more than the Medicare-approved amount. You could be responsible for any additional cost.
Routine Testing Is Important
Testing blood sugar regularly is an important part of diabetes self-management. Don’t let the cost of test strips get in the way. Take advantage of the lower cost that Medicare’s competitive bidding process offers by using a contracted supplier.