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Medicare does not currently cover cost of important medical equipment for insulin-dependent diabetics

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In an effort to help millions of Americans who are living with Type 1 diabetes, and who rely on a continuous glucose monitor to successfully manage the disease, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Jeanne Shaheen, co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, today introduced the “Medicare CGM Access Act of 2014.”

Currently, insulin-dependent Medicare beneficiaries are being denied coverage for continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) because the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the devices do not meet the Medicare definition of “durable medical equipment” and do not fall under any other Medicare category.  As a result, people with Type 1 diabetes who have had private insurance coverage for their continuous glucose monitors lose that coverage when they age into Medicare.

“The current law simply does not make sense,” said Senator Collins.  “Ironically, because of advances in diabetes care like the continuous glucose monitor, people with Type 1 diabetes can expect to live long enough to become Medicare beneficiaries.  These machines help patients control their blood glucose levels, which is key to preventing costly and sometimes deadly diabetes complications.”

“I know firsthand the impact diabetes can have on a family and there’s no reason that lifesaving blood glucose monitoring options shouldn’t be covered under Medicare,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bill is an important step toward making sure people with Type 1 diabetes can continue to manage their disease with proven, cost saving technology once they become Medicare beneficiaries.”

The Medicare CGM Access Act would create a separate benefit category under Medicare for the continuous glucose monitor and require coverage of the device for individuals meeting specified medical criteria.
“JDRF is extremely grateful to U.S. Senator Collins of Maine and Senator Shaheen of New Hampshire for their leadership in introducing this legislation,” said Derek Rapp, president and CEO of JDRF. “Seniors with type 1 diabetes urgently need Medicare to make these life-saving technologies available. This is a significant step and we welcome the support of others in Congress.”