Washington, D.C. —U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation to expand the availability of innovative diabetes technologies for seniors. The Improving Medicare Beneficiary Access to Innovative Diabetes Technologies Act would create a special task force at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to examine and address barriers that seniors face in accessing the latest diabetes management technologies.
“As Chairman of the Aging Committee, I have heard from numerous seniors who, when transitioning from employer-provided insurance to Medicare, were shocked to learn that the technologies they have relied upon for years to manage their diabetes are no longer covered,” said Senator Collins. “To better support adoption of these technologies, our bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to create a special task force on coverage and payment for innovative diabetes technologies. This will help ensure that outdated coverage criteria does not impede access to technologies that will improve care and reduce costs to the health care system as a whole.”
“Innovative technology to treat and manage diabetes has life-changing possibilities for millions of Americans,” said Senator Shaheen. “In addition to working to reduce the cost of insulin, we need to ensure Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes have access to the most effective technology to better manage the disease and to improve their quality of life. I will continue to work across the aisle to prioritize efforts that expand access to affordable, cutting-edge treatment on behalf of patients and families in New Hampshire and across the country.”
The Improving Medicare Beneficiary Access to Innovative Diabetes Technologies Act would establish a Special Task Force on Coverage and Payment for Innovative Diabetes Technologies and Services. The Task Force would report annually, making specific recommendations to the Secretary of HHS and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on:
· Existing Medicare benefit categories under which innovative diabetes technologies and services should be covered.
· Changes to Medicare statute and changes to regulations and sub-regulatory guidance for existing benefit categories that would be necessary to accommodate coverage and payment of innovative diabetes technologies and services.
· Elimination of other unnecessary burdens that impede access to innovative diabetes technologies and services.
· Proposals for a new benefit category for covering certain technologies and services that cannot otherwise be covered through changes to regulations and sub-regulatory guidance for existing benefit categories and specifications for the new benefit category.
· Proposals to streamline interagency administrative processes through greater FDA and CMS collaboration that would facilitate prompt approval or clearance and coverage of innovative technologies and services for patients with diabetes.
As co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Senators Collins and Shaheen have worked together to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research, and improve access to treatment options. In response to the Senators’ bipartisan effort, CMS first approved the use of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) in January 2017 and allowed Medicare beneficiaries to use smartphone apps in conjunction with continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) in June 2018.
In July, the Senators introduced a bill to roll back more than a decade of insulin prices hikes, and they have consistently pressed to hold insulin manufacturers, insurers, and PBMs accountable for the skyrocketing cost of life-saving insulin.
In March, Senators Collins and Shaheen introduced a bill to expand access to diabetes self-management training, and in June they led the bipartisan push in the Senate to ensure continued support for the Special Diabetes Program.