Does Medicare Cover Diabetic Test Strips?

In this article...
  • Medical supplies, such as diabetic test strips, are typically covered by Medicare Part B. However, limitations on quantity, providers and brand may apply.

Medicare Part B covers some forms of durable medical equipment (DME), a category under which diabetic test strips may fall. The variances in coverage come in the form of quantity, provider type and manufacturer. 

What Are Diabetic Test Strips?

A diabetic test strip is a chemically treated piece of laminate that works with a blood glucose meter to check glucose levels in the blood. These disposable strips are inserted into the electronic meter after an individual pricks their finger just enough to get a droplet of blood to place on the strip. 

The reaction between the blood and the strip creates a measurement of blood glucose, which can indicate ranges for those with diabetes. The use of these strips can help to diagnose diabetes. They are also pertinent in the efficacy of diabetes management, which is why those with diabetes are strongly encouraged to check their levels daily. 

Does Medicare Cover Diabetic Test Strips?

Medicare does cover the cost of diabetic test strips as long as the provider recommending them as a medical necessity and strip manufacturers are both Medicare-approved. 

Coverage for diabetic test strips and other medical supplies through a Medicare Advantage plan must at least meet the parameters of original Medicare programs. Where variances may occur is in choice of providers or suppliers, cost and protections. 

Part B also has variances in quantity, depending on diagnosis and treatment protocol. For instance, beneficiaries with diabetes who use insulin may be allotted up to 300 test strips and 300 lancets every three months. Those who do not use insulin may be allotted up to 100 test strips and 100 lancets every three months. 

If a provider says that it is medically necessary, Medicare may cover the cost of additional strips for some beneficiaries. They may be required to maintain a record of how often they are using the strips for glucose testing purposes. Additional documentation may be necessary for such circumstances. 


If diabetic strips are recommended by a provider who takes Medicare, Part B beneficiaries generally pay 20% of the amount approved by Medicare for DME after meeting the Part B yearly deductible. 

Medicare won't pay claims from diabetic strip providers not covered by the network. Moreover, those providers and suppliers that do participate in Medicare must "accept assignment" to ensure proper coverage parameters.

This means that the beneficiary can only be charged the coinsurance amount and the Part B deductible for the cost designated by Medicare for DME. Those that do not accept Medicare assignment may charge any price they wish. 

Read More
Happy couple riding bicycles outdoors
Medicare does not typically cover weight loss medication, but Medicare does cover a variety of weight ...
Smiling grandfather plays with young grandson on couch at home
Many people start getting Medicare benefits at age 65, either automatically or by enrolling. Some ...
Nurse wearing a mask takes blood for patient
Medicare covers blood tests for diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis, various types of cancer and more. ...