Earlier this month CMS announced that newer insulin delivery devices are now available to older American’s as part of Medicare Part D prescription coverage, according to a guidance letter from CMS.
The Endocrine Society issued a press release applauding the decision, stating that “these technologies help individuals manage their blood sugar levels effectively and prevent dangerous complications such as hypoglycemia.”
Under the coverage, Medicare beneficiaries will have access to devices not covered under Medicare Part B, such as the Omnipod Insulin Management System, according to the Endocrine Society.
“Until the new guidance was issued, Omnipod was the only FDA-approved insulin pump system not covered by Medicare,” the society said. “Previously, people with diabetes who qualified for Medicare at age 65 had to pay out of pocket to continue using the Omnipod, and many lost access to the device.”
“For a large group of patients, the Omnipod insulin pump provides unique advantages,” Robert Lash, MD, the Endocrine Society's chief professional affairs officer, told Endocrine today. “The tubing-free design of the Omnipod is preferred by many people with type 1 diabetes, including athletes and people who work in environments where having exposed tubing may not be safe. Until now, when these patients turned 65 years old, they often had to change to a different pump or go back to insulin injections. We are delighted that CMS elected to include the Omnipod on its list of Medicare covered insulin pumps. People with diabetes and their physicians should have access to a range of options to effectively treat and mange the disease.”
Abbott also recently announced that their FreeStyle Libre System, a continuous glucose monitoring system that does not require fingerstick calibration, will be covered for all Medicare patients with diabetes who use insulin and meet the eligibility criteria, according to a company press release.
“At Abbott, we are continuously challenging ourselves to ensure our innovative technology is accessible to the majority of people who need it,” Jared Watkin, senior vice president, Diabetes Care at Abbott, said in the release. “CMS’s recognition of this revolutionary health technology, which removes the needs for any user calibration, is ultimately going to empower Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes to live better, healthier lives.” – by Amber Cox