Medicare and Hypoglycemia

Jory Cross by Jory Cross | Licensed since 2012
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This article was updated on: 08/13/2018

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Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can sometimes result from trying to manage diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Medicare may cover some services or supplies related to diabetic hypoglycemia.

What is hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar (glucose), according to the National Library of Medicine. It’s also sometimes called insulin shock, the American Diabetes Association reports. Sometimes it has to do with treating diabetes, but more rarely, a person can be hypoglycemic without having diabetes. We’ll explore Medicare coverage of hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia sounds a lot like hyperglycemia, but these are two different conditions. Hyperglycemia is high blood sugar, according to the National Library of Medicine.

What does hypoglycemia have to do with diabetes?

Diabetes is a health condition involving blood sugar, or glucose, the National Institute on Aging reports. Your body needs blood sugar to deliver energy to your cells, but if you have too much or too little blood sugar, problems can result. The body makes a hormone called insulin to manage glucose levels, but if you have diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or doesn’t use it as well as it should, according to the American Diabetes Association.

People with diabetes may have to check their blood sugar levels, sometimes many times a day, notes the National Institutes of Health. Sometimes your glucose level can be lower than it should be – so you’re hypoglycemic, perhaps temporarily.

The Mayo Clinic states that you would need immediate medical attention if your blood sugar levels were at or below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 3.9 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).

What’s the treatment for hypoglycemia?

Sometimes just having a snack such as raisins or drinking a sweet drink (like juice) can help, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). If someone’s blood sugar levels are dangerously low (for example, he or she has passed out or is having a seizure), call 911 and don’t put anything into the person’s mouth, the ADA advises.

Does Medicare cover hypoglycemia treatment?

Medicare Part B generally covers doctor visits and certain diabetes-related testing and services. Part B may cover blood glucose monitors to help treat hypoglycemia. You’ll typically need to pay your Part B deductible first, and a 20% coinsurance amount after your deductible is paid. Read more about Medicare coverage of medical supplies.

If your doctor says hypoglycemia is a concern for you, ask him or her about your treatment plan. You can call Medicare to find out more about coverage details. The number is listed below this article.

Does Medicare Advantage cover hypoglycemia?

The Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) program offers you an alternative way to get your Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) benefits. A Medicare Advantage plan would cover hypoglycemia in the same way as Original Medicare would, although costs may be different under your plan. Ask your plan for details.

Does a Medicare Supplement plan cover hypoglycemia?

If Medicare covers services related to your hypoglycemia, you might have to pay deductibles and/or coinsurance or copayments. A Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan may help cover your Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coinsurance, and possibly other out-of-pocket costs. Ask your plan for details.

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