JDRF commends U.S. Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY), Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) for introducing legislation, H.R. 5644, the ‘Medicare CGM Access Act of 2014,’ calling for continuous glucose monitor (CGM) coverage by Medicare. This legislation (which now joins its Senate companion bill, S. 2689) seeks to ensure that seniors with type 1 diabetes (T1D) who are Medicare eligible have access to CGMs as prescribed by their physicians. The CGM is an FDA-approved device that detects and displays blood glucose levels continuously, alarms when levels are too high or too low, and reveals trends in a patient’s glucose levels that often go unnoticed by using finger-stick measurements alone.
Research shows people with T1D can improve glucose control by using a CGM, and reacting to rising or falling glucose levels before they become dangerously high or low. The ‘Medicare CGM Access Act of 2014’ will address the growing concern that people with T1D who are over the age of 65 cannot obtain coverage for this critical and potentially life-saving device through Medicare, even if they used these technologies prior to becoming Medicare eligible. The bill will also help to pave the way for reimbursement of the next generation of diabetes technologies, such as artificial pancreas systems.
The use of CGM technologies is recommended by national diabetes clinical guidelines, and nearly all private health plans across the country cover CGMs for people with T1D, in part thanks to JDRF leadership in funding an independent CGM clinical trial and educating the health system about the results. Now, seniors need Medicare to make these life-saving diabetes technologies available to them as well, and JDRF is grateful for the broad bipartisan support of Congress for this issue of great importance to the T1D community.