Photo via Rawpixel
Unfortunately, seniors with diabetes face an increased risk of developing other serious health problems including nerve damage, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Working with a healthcare team is crucial to managing the condition and preventing debilitating complications. Medicare provides coverage for many diabetes-related services and can be extremely beneficial for seniors with the disease, but the complexity of the Medicare system may discourage people from seeking the treatment they need. Here are some key diabetes services covered by Medicare and how you can take advantage of this care.
Comprehensive Care with Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans provide a wide range of benefits on top of the basic services covered by Original Medicare. For example, certain plans include coverage for vision care. This is important because diabetes increases your risk of developing eye problems that can lead to blindness. Some Medicare Advantage plans, like those offered by Humana, also include dental coverage, prescription drug coverage, and access to the SilverSneakers fitness program—regular exercise is a crucial element in any diabetes management plan! If you have diabetes, switching to a Medicare Advantage plan may help you get more out of your Medicare coverage.
If you have prediabetes, take advantage of the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP). The MDPP is an effective lifestyle change program designed to prevent people from developing type 2 diabetes. Eligible seniors pay nothing for this year-long plan. The MDPP begins with 6 months of behavior training and healthy living guidance from a lifestyle coach, then 6 months of follow-up sessions. Seniors who meet their weight loss and attendance goals get access to an additional year of regular maintenance sessions.
Diabetes Screenings and Doctor’s Visits
Medicare also covers diabetes screenings for people who are at risk of developing diabetes. Risk factors like high blood pressure, overweight, or a history of high blood sugar will give you access to up to 2 yearly lab tests to measure your blood sugar levels. Any senior with a family history of diabetes can also have these tests done.
Regular visits to your doctor are an important part of your diabetes management plan. During these visits, your doctor will discuss making lifestyle changes to control the disease and help you overcome specific diabetes-related problems that are impacting your life. Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the costs of your doctor’s visits.
Medical Supplies and Medications
According to Accu-Chek, Medicare Part B also covers many different medical supplies, such as blood glucose monitors, test strips, lancets, and insulin pumps. Part B will even cover your insulin if you use an external pump. People who inject insulin with a syringe can get coverage for their insulin costs through an additional Medicare Part D plan, which will cover many other diabetes medications as well.
In the end, you are the most important member of your diabetes management team. Learning how to manage your conditionthrough healthy eating, exercise, and blood sugar monitoring will help you cope with your disease. To help you develop these healthy habits, Medicare will cover a portion of outpatient self-management training. According to AARP, Medicare will also cover all of the costs of medical nutrition therapy to help you incorporate healthy food choices into your diet. Adopting the right diabetes self-management strategies will help you live a long and happy life.
Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in older adults and seniors. As a result, Medicare provides a wide range of beneficial tests, treatments, and preventive care measures to reduce the burden of this disease on seniors. Take advantage of Medicare to develop a good diabetes management plan and stay in control of your life.
Article Contributed By: Kevin Wells
How Medicare Can Help Seniors Manage Diabetes