Diabetes affects as many as 1 in 4 adults with Medicare. It costs hundreds of billion of dollars to treat and results in the loss of tens of thousands of lives each year. If diabetes was better controlled, then we’d have a healthier America.
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 cause serious complications and even life-threatening problems, including heart disease, strokes and kidney damage.
Medicare Diabetes Coverage
Medicare is working towards fighting against diabetes. They are doing so by covering two blood sugar screenings each year at no out-of-pocket expense for at risk diabetes patients. You may be at risk for diabetes if you have high blood pressure, a history of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity, or a history of high blood sugar.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, Medicare will continue to cover the two annual screenings as well as services and supplies you need to treat and control it. Medicare will also help pay for insulin and other anti-diabetic drugs.
Because living with diabetes can be challenging, Medicare covers a program to teach you how to manage the disease. With a written order from your doctor you can sign up for training that includes tips for monitoring blood sugar, taking medication and eating healthy.
In addition to the 30 million Americans who have diabetes, 86 millions live with a condition known as pre-diabetes where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.
Pre-diabetes is treatable but only 1 in 10 Americans know that they have it and 1 in 3 people who leave it untreated will get diabetes within several years.
With these statistics, Medicare is ramping up its efforts to prevent diabetes, by partnering with YMCA to launch an initiative for patients with pre-diabetes. The project shows that Medicare patients could lose weight through lifestyle counseling and regular meetings that show the importance of healthy eating habits and exercise.
Since obesity is a risk factor of developing diabetes, it’s important to stay active. Even losing just 5 percent of your body weight can drastically reduce the risk of getting diabetes.
Diabetes is a terrible disease that can mean a lifetime of tests, injections and health challenges. If Medicare can prevent more diabetes cases before they start, then they can help people live longer and fuller lives, as well as save money across the health care system.