Medicare Steps Up the Fight Against Diabetes

Woman Performing Blood Test on Herself

One in 4 senior adults with Medicare are affected by diabetes and hundreds of thousands are lost every year in spite of the billions of dollars spent treating the disease. We’d have a healthier America if diabetes could be better controlled.

“Diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t respond to the insulin it does make. Insulin is what your body uses to process sugar and turn it into energy. When too much sugar stays in your blood, it can lead to serious complications and even life-threatening problems, including heart disease, strokes and kidney damage,” reports Bob Mooswho is the Southwest public affairs officer for the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

High blood pressure, a history of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity or a history of high blood sugar are the risk factors.

Two free blood sugar screenings are covered each year for those at risk for diabetes under Medicare.

Medicare will pay for blood sugar self-testing equipment and supplies as well as insulin and other anti-diabetic drugs. Should you end up with diabetic foot disease, Medicare will help pay for therapeutic shoes or inserts with a prescription from your podiatrist.

Also with a prescription from your doctor, Medicare will cover training for a day to day management for monitoring blood sugar, taking medication and healthy eating.

Go to Medicare’s website at or call Medicare’s 24/7 helpline at 1-800-633-4227 and visit with a counselor and learn more about controlling diabetes. Read the 2019 Medicare and You handbook for all benefits, too.

There are also 86 million people who live with pre-diabetes where their blood

sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis

With those statistics in mind, Medicare is increasing its preventative education to Medicare beneficiaries who are at a prime risk of developing diabetes.

Medicare partnered with the YMCA a few years ago and found that if pre-diabetics adopted a healthier lifestyle and exercise program, they could delay the onset of full-blown diabetes.

In that light, Medicare is expanding its coverage to include diabetes prevention with counseling aimed to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reducing stress at no out-of-pocket costs.

Moos reports, “Diabetes can be a terribly debilitating disease. It can mean a lifetime of tests, injections and health challenges. Every five minutes in this country, 14 more adults are diagnosed with it. And in the same five minutes, two more people will die from diabetes-related causes.”

Preventing diabetes before it even starts means people living longer fuller lives and even saving money throughout our healthcare system.