Earlier this month CMS released a statement saying that newer insulin delivery devices will now be covered under Medicare Part D prescription coverage.
Consumers and lawmakers were frustrated that the CMS hadn’t clarified whether the newer insulin pumps were covered by Medicare. Older generation devices deliver insulin via a tube, while newer ones deliver the hormone though the skin directly.
Now recognizing that newer insulin-delivery devices are on the market, the agency has clarified that Part D plans can cover these too. However, the agency fell short of mandating that plans do so.
Prior to the CMS notice on Jan. 5, some said that they were delaying retirement to continue their employer-sponsored coverage or were being forced to pay thousands out-of-pocket to continue to use more innovative insulin devices they had acquired under private insurance.
Omnipod, one of the new products now covered, can cost as much as $3,000 to $4,000 a month. This pump offers unique advantages for people who are athletic or work in in an environment that isn’t safe for pumps that use tubing. Previously, people in situations like these were forced to go back to using insulin injections.
The proportion of Medicare beneficiaries being treated for diabetes increased from 25.2% in 2006 to 28.2% in 2015 and the CMS has projected that the number of U.S. adults with diabetes will double by 2050.
With devices like the Omnipod Insulin Management System on the market and now available to Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes, these people can feel empowered and live a healthier lifestyle.