Medicare Implements Positive Changes to Policies for CGMs

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Managing type 1 diabetes can be a difficult task. Individuals must constantly be aware of whether their blood glucose levels are rising, falling, or remaining stable. This has a significant impact on their well-being and quality of life. Many people have turned to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) to help them track their blood glucose and adjust their insulin dosages and diet accordingly.

However, until January 2017, CGMs were not covered by Medicare, and even after new policies were rolled out at the start of the year, only certain devices were covered (the Dexcom G5 CGM and later the Abbott Freestyle Libre CGM). While this was a win for individuals with T1D who used these devices, there was a huge catch to the new policy: the CGMs could not be used in conjunction with smartphone applications. They had to be used solely with the provided data receiver. If the smartphone app was used, Medicare would not cover their supplies.

This was problematic because the app could be used to share information with family members, caregivers, and medical providers and allowed for closer tracking and monitoring of blood glucose levels. The app also provided helpful alerts and alarms so that users would know when their blood sugar was becoming too high or low and could respond accordingly.

After much lobbying and debate, the policy was finally changed in June 2018. Under the revised policy, individuals with CGMs are permitted to use the smartphone application in conjunction with the receiver and device. This is an important change because it means individuals have more options and flexibility in managing their diabetes and can share information as necessary.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) acknowledges this as a step in the right direction toward making diabetes care more accessible and affordable and supporting data sharing to make more informed treatment-related decisions. T1D is a challenging disease, and researchers are learning more every day about causes, treatment options, and potential cures. The DRC supports early career scientists in conducting peer-reviewed novel research studies regarding T1D. To learn more, visit Our Projects.

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