The name Freestyle Libre may sound like a new kind of dance, or fun exercise class to some. But to over 30 million people with diabetes in the United States, it means something totally different. Freestyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitoring system that takes fast, easy and accurate measurements of blood sugar levels without painful or inconvenient finger pricks.
For people living with diabetes, it is essential to maintain optimal glycemic control. If your physician has recommended the Freestyle Libre glucose monitor to you, you need to know if your Medicare benefits cover the cost, how it works, and if it’s right for you.
Does Your Medicare Insurance Plan Include Coverage for Freestyle Libre?
Medicare recipients who have Original Medicare Part B (medical insurance), have Durable Medical Equipment (DME) coverage. DME is equipment that is medically necessary equipment that is durable enough for repeated use, intended for use in the home, and has a lifetime of at least three years. The Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring system falls under the category of durable medical equipment.
In order to be eligible for Medicare coverage for the Freestyle Libre system there are some conditions that you can discuss with your health care provider. They include the following:
- Your physician must prescribe the equipment for home use, and it must be medically necessary.
- The physician prescribing the monitoring system, as well as the supplier, must be enrolled in Medicare and accept Medicare assignment.
- Medicare recipients must have diabetes and must be using a blood glucose monitor to test levels four or more times per day. They must also be taking three or more daily insulin injections.
With Medicare Part B, Medicare covers 80 percent of the approved amount. Medicare recipients are responsible for paying 20 percent of the final, approved cost, and the Part B deductible will apply. If you have purchased a Medigap policy to supplement your Medicare coverage, it may help pay for deductibles, coinsurance, an copayments.
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will have at least the same coverage as Original Medicare Part A and Part B, but many offer additional benefits.
How does the Freestyle Libre work?
The Freestyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitoring system that automatically measure the blood glucose levels of the person wearing it. When you apply the sensor with the provided applicator, a glucose sensing filament is inserted just below the skin. Here, it measures glucose in the interstitial fluid. By waving the digital reader above the sensor, it records the amount of glucose in your system at that moment and stores the data in the digital reader.
With this data you have immediate access to your glucose levels and any changes in your levels. You can see hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic trends. This information helps you make better decisions and adjustments for better diabetes management. With this sort of system, because you don’t have to prick your finger for blood tests, you don’t have to worry about checking your sugar levels in public. You can measure discreetly by scanning the sensor through your clothes. This system makes it easy to give your health care providers access to the stored information. You can connect your reader to their computer, or send them a pdf report to their email.
People living with diabetes know that continuous and accurate glucose monitoring is essential for proper management. By using a system like Freestyle Libre, you can monitor glucose fluctuations more carefully and avoid the dangerous highs and lows. With Medicare covering a large portion of the cost, managing your diabetes is easier and more convenient than ever.