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Bill Would Expand Diabetes Education for Medicare Beneficiaries

Senators Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine are bringing back a bill to expand Medicare coverage for diabetes. The bill is called the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management (DSMT) Act.

This bill would be very beneficial for those with diabetes who have Medicare coverage. It provides expanded coverage for diabetes educators who train Medicare beneficiaries to manage their blood sugar, stay fit and healthy, eat right, and manage insulin levels.

What would the bill do?

A few of the things the bill would do are:

  • Allow beneficiaries to get more hours of DSMT services
  • Allow DSMT and Medical Nutritional Therapy (MNT) services to be provided on the same day
  • Exclude DSMT services from Part B cost-sharing and deductible requirements
  • Allow DSMT services to be provided at a community-based location
  • Establish virtual DSMT

Many people who have diabetes have not officially been diagnosed and may not know anything about managing the disease from day to day. Without proper management, diabetes can be very detrimental to whole body health and even fatal. Possible health risks associated with long-term diabetes are kidney disease, heart disease, nerve damage, vision loss, and amputations.  

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Benefits of the legislation

With proper training in how to manage diabetes, health risks will be reduced, healthcare costs lowered, and hospitalizations reduced.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen said, “This bipartisan legislation would lift financial barriers to training access, reduce health care costs and improve health care outcomes. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of Americans, and I will continue to work across the aisle to prioritize efforts that support diabetes treatment, research and education on behalf of patients and families across the country.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 million Americans have diabetes and 79 million have prediabetes.  

What does Medicare cover for diabetes?

So what does Medicare cover for diabetes?

Medicare covers two screening tests a year to check if you have diabetes, and medications, testing equipment, and supplies for diabetics. Also covered are some training for managing the disease and nutrition therapy services. Medicare Part B covers the diabetes services received in a doctor setting plus some durable medical equipment, and Part D covers drugs that you get a pharmacy. 

To support the bill reintroduced by Senators Susan Collins and Jeanne Shaheen, contact your legislator today.

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