As of 2015, diabetes was one of the most common conditions in America, affecting 30.3 million Americans. This equates to 9.4% of the U.S. population, making it a growing health problem. This is especially true because 84.1 million Americans live with prediabetes, which often leads to type 2 diabetes if left untreated. Altogether, diabetes and prediabetes affect about one-third of the U.S. population.
Sadly, many people are at risk without even knowing it. Some people don’t even realize they have diabetes at first. Fortunately, though, there is good news. If you receive Medicare benefits, Medicare covers screening tests so you can stay on top of any health changes you’re experiencing. It is also possible to manage diabetes with diet and exercise.
You may be at risk for type 2 diabetes if you:
- Have prediabetes
- Are overweight
- Are 45 or older
- Have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- Are physically active fewer than 3 times per week
- Had diabetes while pregnant or gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 lbs
- Are of African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native heritage
Medical professionals do not understand the risk factors for type 1 diabetes as clearly as those of type 2 diabetes. It is likely caused by an immune reaction in which the body attacks itself.
How Medicare Helps
If you live with prediabetes, type 1, or type 2 diabetes, Medicare may be able to help. If you have certain other risk factors, Medicare may cover up to 2 screenings per year. These risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- History of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- History of high blood sugar
Additionally, if you have diabetes, Medicare Part B covers many supplies. Through Medicare, you can get insulin, test strips, monitors, lancets, and control solutions. You may even be able to get therapeutic shoes to help with diabetic foot problems. However, you will pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for this equipment.
Finally, Medicare covers diabetes self-management training, which can teach you strategies for managing your diabetes. Not only will you learn the essentials, like monitoring your blood sugar, you’ll also learn strategies for maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and managing medication.
Not sure if you’re at risk? This Diabetes Risk Test can help you find out.
Have you found your Medicare plan yet? Time is running out to do so—Open Enrollment ends tomorrow. Head over to our Medicare center to get help choosing your plan!