Does Medicare Cover Blood Sugar Monitors and Supplies?

Original Medicare helps cover the cost of blood sugar monitors and a monthly supply of blood sugar test strips if your doctor prescribes a monitor for use in your home. The blood sugar monitor and test strips are covered as durable medical equipment under Medicare.

Terry Turner, writer and researcher for RetireGuide
  • Written by
    Terry Turner

    Terry Turner

    Senior Financial Writer and Financial Wellness Facilitator

    Terry Turner has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including covering benefits, spending and congressional action on federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare. He is a Certified Financial Wellness Facilitator through the National Wellness Institute and the Foundation for Financial Wellness and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®).

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  • Edited By
    Lee Williams
    Lee Williams, senior editor for RetireGuide.com

    Lee Williams

    Senior Financial Editor

    Lee Williams is a professional writer, editor and content strategist with 10 years of professional experience working for global and nationally recognized brands. He has contributed to Forbes, The Huffington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, AskMen.com, Electric Literature and The Wall Street Journal. His career also includes ghostwriting for Fortune 500 CEOs and published authors.

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  • Published: June 4, 2021
  • Updated: November 1, 2022
  • 4 min read time
  • This page features 8 Cited Research Articles
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APA Turner, T. (2022, November 1). Does Medicare Cover Blood Sugar Monitors and Supplies? RetireGuide.com. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/durable-medical-equipment/diabetic-supplies/

MLA Turner, Terry. "Does Medicare Cover Blood Sugar Monitors and Supplies?" RetireGuide.com, 1 Nov 2022, https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/durable-medical-equipment/diabetic-supplies/.

Chicago Turner, Terry. "Does Medicare Cover Blood Sugar Monitors and Supplies?" RetireGuide.com. Last modified November 1, 2022. https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/durable-medical-equipment/diabetic-supplies/.

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Diabetic Supplies Coverage at a Glance
Medicare PlanCoverage for Diabetic Supplies
Part A (Inpatient) N/A
Part B (Outpatient) Covers 80% of costs for eligible blood glucose monitors and related supplies after you have reached your Part B deductible.
Part C (Medicare Advantage) Coverage mirrors Part B. Select plans may offer additional benefits.
Part D (Prescription Drugs) N/A
Supplemental InsuranceCan help cover out-of-pocket supply costs. Coverage varies by plan.

Your Costs for a Blood Sugar Monitor Under Medicare

Medicare Part B covers blood sugar monitors — also called blood glucose monitors — for beneficiaries with diabetes. You are responsible for your Part B deductible and 20 percent of the Medicare-approved costs. Medicare will cover the remaining 80 percent.

A doctor has to prescribe a monitor for use in your home, and you have to meet certain other eligibility requirements before Medicare will cover blood sugar monitors and test strips.

Requirements for Medicare to Cover Blood Sugar Monitors and Test Strips
  • You must be in treatment for diabetes.
  • Your doctor must accept Medicare.
  • Your supplier must be enrolled in Medicare and accept assignment — meaning they are willing to accept the Medicare-approved price for the monitor and test strips.

If your supplier does not participate in Medicare, they can charge you whatever they want, and Medicare will not pay for it.

Blood glucose monitors are covered under Medicare’s definition of durable medical equipment (DME).

Criteria for Durable Medical Equipment
  • Durable — able to withstand repeated use
  • Typically has an expected lifespan of three years or more
  • Used in your home
  • Used for a medical reason
  • Not typically useful for someone who is not sick or injured
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Medigap and Medicare Advantage May Affect Your Out-of-Pocket Costs

A Medigap policy or a Medicare Advantage plan may cover some of your out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare does not cover.

A Medigap — or Medicare Supplement insurance — policy can help cover your deductible, coinsurance and any copayment related to a blood sugar monitor and test strips. Medigap plans supplement your coverage if you have Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plans replace Original Medicare and are required to cover everything that Medicare Part A and Part B cover. But they may provide extra benefits that Original Medicare does not.

Both Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurers, and coverage can vary depending on the plan. Talk with your plan’s administrator about what specific coverage your plan may provide when it comes to blood sugar monitors, test strips and other diabetes supplies.

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Medicare Covers Blood Sugar Test Strips

Medicare Part B also covers all supplies necessary for the proper use of durable medical equipment. As a result, Medicare Part B covers blood sugar test strips along with lancets and lancet devices. But there may be limits on the number of test strips or other supplies Medicare will cover.

Medicare Part B Limits on Test Strips
  • If you use insulin: Medicare will cover up to 300 test strips and 300 lancets every three months.
  • If you do not use insulin: Medicare will cover up to 100 test strips and 100 lancets every three months.
  • Medicare will cover more than the limited number if your doctor declares additional test strips and lancets are medically necessary. You may need to keep records of your self-treatments to show to Medicare as proof.

Your cost for supplies follows the same formula as for the monitor — you are responsible for your Part B deductible and 20 percent of the amount charged, while Medicare covers the remaining 80 percent — as long as your doctor and supplier participate in Medicare.

Blood Sugar Monitor vs. Continuous Glucose Control Monitor

For some Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes, a continuous glucose control monitor (CGM) may be a better option than a blood sugar monitor.

But Medicare will pay to replace your blood sugar monitor with a CGM only if you meet certain criteria. These include taking insulin, using an insulin pump and needing to check your blood sugar levels four or more times a day.

You should talk with your doctor to see if you qualify for a continuous glucose control monitor and if it is a better option for you.

Last Modified: November 1, 2022

8 Cited Research Articles

  1. Humana. (2022, August 11). Medicare Coverage: Diabetic Supplies and Services. Retrieved from https://www.humana.com/medicare/medicare-resources/diabetic-supplies
  2. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2022, January). Your Medicare Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10116-your-medicare-benefits.pdf
  3. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2020, December). Medicare Coverage of Diabetes Supplies, Services and Prevention Programs. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11022-Medicare-Diabetes-Coverage.pdf
  4. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2019, December). Medicare Coverage of Diabetes Supplies, Services and Prevention Programs. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11022-LE-Medicare-Coverage-of-Diabetes.pdf
  5. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2018, August 16). Current Medicare Coverage of Diabetes Supplies. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE18011.pdf
  6. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2018, August 16). Current Medicare Coverage of Diabetes Supplies. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE18011.pdf
  7. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Blood Sugar Test Strips. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/blood-sugar-test-strips
  8. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Blood Sugar Monitors. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/blood-sugar-monitors