Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, urging the agency to provide Medicare coverage for clinically appropriate treatment. Senators Collins and Shaheen have consistently worked to increase funding for diabetes research and promote better health care for people with diabetes.
Insulin-dependent Medicare beneficiaries rely on therapies such as patch pumps, which provide continuous insulin delivery without the need for tubes, to help manage their disease. While such treatments are covered by private insurance, Medicare does not cover these devices. As a result, individuals with diabetes may lose coverage for the physician-prescribed therapies they have been successfully using to manage their diabetes when they age into Medicare.
“Effective management of diabetes is crucial to holding down health care costs and helping seniors manage their diabetes successfully to allow them to continue to live healthy and productive lives,” Senators Collins and Shaheen wrote. “We urge your careful review of Medicare coverage policies for patch pumps and other life-saving therapies for diabetes, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, and to review the procedures at CMS that have resulted in these disparities in coverage.”
Diabetes affects nearly 30 million Americans nationwide, and it has been estimated that the number of Americans living with this disease will double and the related health care costs will nearly triple by 2035. Since Senator Collins founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus in 1997, funding for diabetes research has more than tripled from $319 million to more than a billion dollars in 2017.