Medicare Minute April 2017

Confusion about ordering Diabetic Supplies?


We get many calls where folks have confusion over who pays for what when it comes to diabetic supplies. Now we all know your insulin is ordered from your drug plan, but the supplies are not covered by drug plans. So where do you get those test strips and needles and other stuff?

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan you order your diabetic supplies through your contracted provider. Some plans pay for your supplies 100%, others have a 20% co-pay. Whether ordering or asking where to order, check with your Member Services by calling the 800 number on the back of your Medicare Advantage membership card.

If you have Medicare with a Medicare Supplement (Medigap), things are different. Your supplies can be paid for 100%, as long as you order from an authorized Medicare Medical supply vendor.

To find a list of these vendors follow these instructions:

  1. Go to
  2. On the left side of your screen scroll down and select “Find suppliers of medical equipment & supplies”. (It will be third from bottom of list).
  3. The “Find a Supplier” page will pop up next and simply enter your ZIP CODEand hit the “GO” button.
  4. Scroll down and select the very first item on the list “Mail order Diabetic Supplies”, and scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Search”.
  5. Select the “Mail Order Diabetic Supplies” and click the arrow.A list of approved mail order suppliers will appear.
  6. We recommend that you scroll through the list and find a supplier that is closest to your home. Sometimes this will be the supplier in Carlsbad, California.
  7. Medicare will pay their portion and your Medigap will pay their portion of the supply bill.
  8. Once you choose the supplier, select the “Mail Order Diabetic Supplies” select the locations tab and left click. There will be an 800 number to call and place your order.
  9. Have your Medicare A&B card handy as they will ask for your ID number and name to submit payment to Medicare. You will also need your doctor’s name that writes your prescription for insulin (even though they do not sell insulin, only supplies) as well as their phone number and address. Also, have your secondary ID ready (such as your Driver’sLicense).

Keep in mind that some suppliers have a very limited list of what they ship while others have a more extensive list of supplies they will ship. Check a few different suppliers to make sure you can get the supplies you want. Syringes, needles, band-aids, alcohol wipes and test strips can all be supplies you can order.
Also, check with your local network participating drug store and inquire about their procedure for ordering diabetic supplies. This can sometimes be a viable option as well.