Medicare Part B covers tests to check for diabetes. You must have the following risk factors to qualify:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • History of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Obesity
  • A history of high blood sugar

Medicare will also cover these tests if two or more of the following apply to you:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Overweight
  • Family history (parents, brothers, sisters)
  • A history of diabetes during pregnancy or delivery of a baby weighing more than 9 lbs

Based on the results of these tests, you may be eligible for up to two diabetes screenings each year. Your senior health plan will pay the 20% that Medicare does not cover. Medicare Part B does not cover insulin unless used with an insulin pump. It also doesn’t cover insulin pens, syringes, needles, alcohol swabs, or gauze. But insulin and certain medical supplies used to inject insulin, such as syringes, gauze and alcohol swabs may be covered under Part D depending on your plan. If you use an external insulin pump, insulin and the pump may be covered as durable medical equipment. A Medicare Part D plan covers insulin that is NOT delivered by pump, as well as other diabetic drugs that help maintain blood sugar. When choosing a Part D drug plan, be sure to contact a licensed broker if you need help. Remember those plans have a one year contract.

Your Medicare Part B health insurance premiums will also cover diabetes outpatient self-management training to teach you how to manage your diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes; Medicare may cover up to ten hours of initial diabetes self-management training. You may also qualify for up to two hours of follow-up training each year as long it is provided in a group of 2-20 people, it lasts at least 30 minutes and it takes place the year following the year you were diagnosed with diabetes.

There is a new study out that has found that certain diabetes drugs are better for the health of your heart. Serena Gordon, writing in Bloomberg Business week reports “the commonly used oral diabetes drug Metformin, not only helps stabilize blood sugar levels, it also may offer protection against heart disease, researchers say.” She goes on to say that the study was done in Denmark and included more than 100,000 residents taking Metformin and another group that took oral medications called insulin secretagogues. Metformin had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease and death.