If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and are about to enter your golden years, you’ll surely realize how expensive the condition can be to treat. Dietary planning, insulin, and a variety of supplies can cost a pretty penny.
Medicare, however, can help seniors with their diabetes care, so they can receive quality treatment while also continuing to live fulfilling lives far into the future. Medicare professionals are always available to help should enrollees have any questions about various benefits as they think about choosing a personalized plan.
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If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes but are at risk for it, Medicare Part B offers screenings. Once approved by your Medicare-participating doctor, you can generally receive the screenings twice each calendar year.
The screenings usually include the fasting plasma glucose test, which is utilized to determine blood sugar levels over specific periods. The goal is to determine how quickly the body is able to return blood sugar levels to a specific normalized reading.
Diabetes Self-Management Training
Medicare Part B also offers specialized educational training for qualified men and women. A full 10 hours of both one-on-one and group classes are available. The classes usually focus on the following areas:
- Self-monitoring of glucose
- Dietary planning
- Exercise regimens
- Possible prescriptive medications
Any disabilities, like blindness or deafness, may qualify you for 10 hours of individual training with a certified instructor. The diabetes management training program is especially useful for seniors who have only recently been diagnosed.
Annual Eye Examinations and Glaucoma Screenings
Medicare Part B also offers recipients regular eye exams, which can be key in detecting diabetes. Blood sugar problems often show up as diabetic retinopathy, which is one warning sign of the disease.
People with diabetes are also more likely to develop glaucoma, which is why specialized glaucoma screenings are also offered once each year. This is especially important for African American and Hispanic American diabetics.
Medical Nutrition Therapy
Nutrition is perhaps the key to managing the condition. Once seniors have been diagnosed with diabetes, they’ll want to carefully follow a diet developed specifically for diabetics.
As long as the fasting blood glucose level meets or exceeds certain criteria, medical nutrition therapy is covered by Medicare. The goal is to add lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to the diet, so the body can manage the condition effectively.
Medicare covers three full hours of medical nutrition therapy for the first year followed by two hours every year after that. When combined with an effective cardio workout program, diabetes can be quite effectively treated.
Supplies (Original Medicare Part B)
Original Medicare Part B covers both blood glucose test strips and blood glucose monitors as well as lancet devices and lancets. Part B also covers insulin pumps and the insulin used in the pumps. Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) that have been classified in the Medicare framework as therapeutic monitors are also covered under the program. The Food and Drug Administration classifies the monitors as therapeutic if they can readily be used to make certain treatment decisions.
Supplies (Medicare Part D)
Medicare Part D deals with prescription drugs. Most importantly, Part D covers insulin that is not currently being used in an insulin pump. Part D is also likely to cover various supplies that are necessary to inject insulin into the body, including:
- Alcohol swabs
Because Part D plans will usually involve choosing a drug formulary, you’ll need to be sure that the drugs you use to control your diabetes are included on the list. You can compare various plans to make sure that the pharmacies that you approve of are part of the chosen network.
Although diabetes is a serious condition, it can be managed effectively through proper education and the right supplies and equipment. Always check with a Medicare professional when you are navigating the system for the first time. Medicare can help you significantly as you battle to keep down the treatment costs.
A thorough overview of the benefits that are available to you will offer a great first step into your wonderful senior years.