Diabetes is a serious medical condition that is often associated with obesity and unhealthy lifestyles choices, but not all types of diabetes are the same. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that is often caused by eating too many sugary foods to the point where the body becomes resistant to insulin. When this occurs, glucose levels in the blood can reach dangerous levels and wreak havoc on organs. Type 1 diabetes, however, is an autoimmune condition that leads to the body attacking cells responsible for regulating insulin. This type of diabetes has traditionally been referred to as “juvenile diabetes,” but anyone at any age can be affected by it.
Testing and Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetics may first notice symptoms that include excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue and urgent hunger. After being evaluated and diagnosed by a physician, a person with Type 1 diabetes may need to self-administer regular insulin injections via a specialized injection pen or through the use of an insulin pump. Medications and dietary restrictions may also be required to treat symptoms or to avoid the development of new symptoms.
Does Medicare Cover Type 1 Diabetes?
Under Original Medicare, coverage is available to patients with Type 1 diabetes in a variety of ways. First, regular screenings are required after the initial diagnosis in order to monitor progress. These outpatient visits are covered by Medicare Part B. Certain durable medical equipment may also be covered by Medicare Part B, including insulin pumps; however, there may be restrictions regarding where the pump can be purchased from in order to qualify for coverage.
If insulin is required in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, Medicare will typically cover the cost under Part D. This is the prescription drug benefit and will also usually apply to all medications that are self-administered and available for purchase from retail pharmacies. If injections are needed in a physician’s office or clinic, coverage would revert back to Medicare Part B.
Hospital treatment for Type 1 diabetes and associated symptoms will fall under Medicare Part A if you are formally admitted as an inpatient. Medicare benefits will only cover the cost of skilled nursing care in an approved facility on a temporary basis, meaning long-term care will not be covered.
Wellness Classes and Type 1 Diabetes
In some cases, those with type one diabetes will benefit from taking wellness classes that provide education regarding diabetes management. Unfortunately, these classes are usually not covered by Original Medicare benefits; however, you will likely receive a good bit of education regarding your condition from your physician if you are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be able to receive additional benefits that are not a part of Original Medicare, including the ability to access wellness and fitness classes at a discounted rate. To learn more, contact your plan directly, and remember to discuss all changes to your diet and lifestyle with your care provider to ensure that you are on the right track.