Self-testing medical supplies have a come a long way in recent decades. Today, many people who suffer from diabetes or other insulin-related conditions are able to use simple test strips at home or on-the-go to monitor levels of certain substances in the blood. These strips are small, single-use pieces of paper-like material that are stained with a drop or two of blood and then inserted into a testing device that can provide accurate results in seconds. Through the use of test strips, diabetics and others are able to quickly address concerns regarding blood glucose levels, and they can also prevent problems by checking blood glucose levels prior to meals in order to ensure that proper levels are being maintained.

Does Medicare Pay for Test Strips?
Medicare provides coverage for test strips and other self-testing supplies for individuals eligible and enrolled in Part B. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) provides coverage for outpatient medical treatment as well as durable medical equipment. Medicare Part B covers test strips for people who take insulin and people who do not take insulin, but the program does differentiate between the two when it comes to the amount of testing supplies that are covered.

In general, qualified Medicare recipients who have been prescribed at-home blood glucose testing supplies will receive test strips more frequently if they use insulin compared to those who do not. Both groups of qualified Medicare recipients do receive the same amount of test strips per period, but the period in between refilling a test strip order is shorter for those who use insulin for management of diabetes or a related condition.

Does Medicare Cover All Test Strips?
Although Medicare provides coverage for testing supplies, including test strips, there may be stipulations regarding brands and where strips can be purchased. Also, because Medicare’s coverage only provides a limited amount of test strips per period, purchasing your own test strips outside of the covered amount will likely result in your claim being denied. In order to know whether your preferred brand of test strip is covered or if your preferred provider is covered, check your specific benefits.

Where Are Covered Test Strips Available?
As long as your test strips are ordered by your physician and your preferred brand is covered by Medicare, you may be able to purchase them from a retail pharmacy or from an approved medical equipment provider. Many providers now offer testing supplies online that can be delivered to your home.

Are Test Strips Covered When Used in a Medical Facility?
In general, any medically necessary services or supplies performed in an outpatient setting under a doctor’s care may be covered under Part B. Medicare Part A may provide coverage if care is administered in a skilled nursing facility or a hospital upon admittance.

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