Senators Collins, Shaheen Urge CMS to Provide Coverage for Glucose Monitoring Smartphone Apps

Washington, D.C. – The co-chairs of the Senate and House Diabetes Caucus, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and U.S. Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), sent a letter to Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), urging the agency to review a Medicare policy that prohibits beneficiaries from using smartphone applications in conjunction with their continuous glucose monitors (CGM). 


Medicare has a policy which currently restricts beneficiaries from using a free smartphone app to share data and alerts from their otherwise coverable CGM.  The data enables family members and caregivers to intervene before a beneficiary’s blood glucose levels become dangerously high or low.


“As the co-chairs of the Senate and House Diabetes Caucus, we applaud the decisions in January 2017 and January 2018 by CMS to provide coverage for CGMs,” wrote the members of Congress.  “These coverage decisions have the potential to improve the lives of millions of Americans who are living with diabetes, and who rely on a continuous glucose monitor to manage the disease successfully.”


“Certain Medicare coverage policies, however, remain that restrict Medicare beneficiaries’ access to the full spectrum of use for innovative diabetes therapies, including CGMs when used in conjunction with smart technology,” continued the Congressional members.  “In particular, many innovative technologies work in tandem with smartphone applications, and current Medicare coverage policies do not support this usage.  We urge CMS to revise its decision to support the full spectrum of use.”


Following a longtime effort from Senators Collins and Shaheen, Medicare announced earlier this year that new technologies used for the delivery of insulin, such as the Omnipod system, may now be covered under Medicare Part D. 


Last month, the Senators secured a full two-year reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program and the Diabetes Program for Indians in the government funding bill.  This extension will provide a total of $600 million dollars combined for the two programs over a two-year period.


Click HERE for a signed copy of the letter.