5 Medicare-Covered Professionals You Need on Your Diabetes Treatment Team

Diabetes management plans often include many different elements: monitoring blood pressure, adjusting diet, and protecting feet to name a few.

Medicare and most insurance plans respond to these needs by covering health services for people with diabetes. Combined with coverage for medical equipment (such as diabetic shoes) and medications, regular appointments with these professionals can make a big difference for diabetes management. Here are the 5 professionals that are worth adding to any diabetes care plan.

1) Your family doctor (MD).

family doctor diabetes blood pressure medicare

We started with this professional because they are the absolute foundation of any diabetes treatment plan. According to Cleveland Clinic, insulin-dependent people with diabetes should see their doctors at least once every 3-4 months, while once every 5-6 months will usually suffice for those treated by pills.

Making the most of these appointments is critical. Something that seems small, such as mild foot pain or lower stamina, could be serious when diabetes is involved. To ensure your bases are covered, provide your doctor with all detailed information they may need at each appointment. This includes recent glucose readings, dietary or exercise changes, and reports of any pain or health challenges (however mild they may seem).

If your doctor recommends any durable medical equipment to help with your diabetes management, such as diabetic shoes or a continuous glucose monitor, be sure to ask them about what paperwork you will need to submit for Medicare coverage. Suppliers like nocostshoes.com can also fax the necessary forms to your doctor prior to ordering, but it can help to bring this up at appointments as well.

2) An optometrist/ophthamologist

ophthalmologist doing an eye test for diabetic retinopathy

To understand why seeing an eye care specialist is important, look no further than the statistics on diabetes and eye disease. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in U.S. adults. As of 2010, 7.69 million Americans had reported a case of diabetic retinopathy, a number which continues to steadily increase each year.

The functioning of eyes is greatly affected by the functioning of blood vessels – in fact, it is not uncommon for an optometrist to identify the first symptoms of diabetes. For this reason, Medicare covers annual diabetic retinopathy exams. Making and keeping these appointments is important in protecting eyesight for individuals who have diabetes.

3) A podiatrist.

podiatrist checking diabetic patient's feet

Serious foot issues and amputation is one of the lesser-known risks of diabetes, though ignoring it can lead to devastating consequences. With diabetic neuropathy, even small foot injuries can become quite serious over time.

To prevent these extreme consequences, Medicare extends coverage for a foot exam once every six months to those with diabetes-related nerve damage. In addition, Medicare often covers diabetic shoes through nocostshoes.com for qualifying individuals. This care protects feet as well as improving your comfort and quality of life as you move through your day.

4) Diabetic Self-Management Training (DSMT)

Managing diabetes often requires significant life changes. Many of these changes must be managed by the individual with the diagnosis, which is why Diabetic Self- Management Training is such an important tool.

In the first year, Medicare may cover up to one hour of individual training and up to nine hours of group training. Following that, 2 hours of follow-up training per year may be covered. This training must be conducted by a certified individual and be deemed necessary by your doctor in order for coverage to be offered. Fortunately, most doctors will deem DSMT a necessary service for their patients, especially those who struggle with some aspects of adapting to life with diabetes. The one-on-one training option is particularly helpful for those struggling with particular aspects of diabetes management.

5) A registered dietician.

registered dietician diabetes
Doctor Giving Advice On Healthy Diet

Along with diabetic self-management training, a dietician can help people understand how best to adapt their diet following a diabetes diagnosis. Since food is such an important aspect of diabetes management, Medicare has extended additional coverage to help those who need a registered dietician as they transition into this new lifestyle.

Depending on what is deemed “medically necessary” by your family doctor, this coverage could entitle you to a  nutrition and lifestyle assessment, individual support and/or group nutrition therapy services, and follow-up appointments. A dietician can clarify the best eating choices for your health and educate you on proper nutrition to improve your health going forward.

Need more support? Proper communication with your family doctor is the key.

There are many different health care services and equipment that can help you to manage diabetes. Medicare or insurance coverage of these things is often contingent on your doctor filling out a Certificate of Medical Necessity. To determine what is medically required for your care, they need to have all the information in front of them.

So, if you are struggling with diabetes self-care, eating changes, or foot/eye issues, be honest and let your doctor know! There are many things they can do to help you access additional care.

For information on diabetic shoes and durable medical equipment covered by Medicare, visit nocostshoes.com.

buy diabetic shoes - all shoes are on sale

Picking the Right Shoes for Swollen Feet (Edema)

Swollen feet or edema can be extremely uncomfortable, especially for people who don’t have the right shoes. Luckily, therapeutic shoes specifically for individuals with swollen feet are available on the market right now. For those who are dealing with this issue as a result of diabetes, these specialty shoes are often covered by Medicare. Here is some information every person dealing with edema should know about caring for their feet.

What causes edema/swollen feet?

If you have swollen feet, chances are the issue stems from a buildup of fluid. Excess fluid will leak into tissues in and around the feet, causing swelling.

There are many reasons this can happen. For example, pregnant women often deal with edema because they retain more fluid before giving birth. Medications can also set off edema, particularly those which impact blood vessels. It’s important for people to talk to their doctor about the reason they are dealing with swollen feet, as this can be a symptom of heart, kidney, or liver issues as well.

People with diabetes are prone to edema for several reason. Firstly, diabetes medications like Actos and Avandia can impact the heart and bloodstream, which may cause blood vessels to leak fluid. Circulation and co-morbid heart issues are also a factor in not only causing swollen feet but also making it difficult to treat the issue. This is what makes finding the right shoes so essential for people with edema, especially when combined with diabetes, heart disease, or circulation issues.

Why you should wear diabetic shoes for swollen feet (even if you don’t have diabetes)

Therapeutic shoes designed for people with diabetes are a good fit for people with edema, even if they personally do not have diabetes themselves. The diabetic shoe market is very established, primarily because most insurance plans (including Medicare) cover the annual purchase of a pair as well as 3 sets of inserts.

If you do have diabetes, this can mean your shoes will be low or no cost! If you do not, you can still benefit from the enormous strides in diabetic shoe technology to manage your edema.

When picking shoes for swollen feet, you should seek a pair that has the following qualities:

  • Extra width to accomodate the swollen foot;
  • Stretchable and durable material;
  • Increased stability – inserts can be used to help with this as well;
  • Fitted by a professional (you can get a shoe fitter house visit through nocostshoes.com); and
  • A reliable, accredited brand recognized by podiatrists and Medicare.

Our Bestselling Women’s Shoes for Swollen Feet

Annie X from Dr. Comfort

Dr. Comfort is one of the most trusted therapeutic shoe brands on the market today. Among its wide selection you’ll find this Annie X shoe, which includes comfortable extra depth, gel inserts and a convenient velcro fastener. Designed with comfort in mind, it’s a great choice for people dealing with edema and other foot issues.

Velcro shoes from New Balance (available in beige, white and black)

Another shoe that comes with velcro convenience, these shoes are truly made for walking – even if you’re managing a foot issue. The high quality soles and custom fit make it easier to move around if you’re dealing with edema, making New Balance shoes a popular choice. Don’t like the velcro? Laces are also available for those who prefer!

Slip On Dress Shoes from Orthofeet

Need some edema-friendly shoes that fit more formal workplaces and occasions? Slip ons are a great choice in this case. Our shoe fitters will make sure this pair from Orthofeet are sized just right, so you can get them on painlessly and still enjoy a secure fit. The therapeutic inside of the shoe is smooth and comfortable, preventing blisters and keeping your feet safe as they heal.

Where can I purchase therapeutic shoes for swollen feet and how much do they cost?

Many people are eager to support their swollen feet, but aren’t sure where to start. For the best rates on therapeutic shoes, recommend purchasing shoes from a Medicare-approved supplier like No Cost Shoes.

Medicare-approved suppliers tend to have a higher inventory of shoes so they can offer better prices and selection. For example, right now all our shoes are on sale for $99. This is significantly lower than the cost at a storefront or even an individual brand’s website.

Medicare-approved suppliers like No Cost Shoes can also send a qualified shoe fitter to your home and help with any insurance claims as needed.

7 Smart Tips for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other Holidays with Diabetes

It can be challenging to manage diabetes during holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Special meals, often hosted by people with little understanding of diabetes management, are plentiful this time of year. On top of that, parties and visits often involve a lot of traveling, and packed schedules are not uncommon.

Getting through the holidays with diabetes often requires a fair amount of preparation and thoughtfulness. Here are some great tips to help you in the pursuit of a fun and happy holiday season.

1) Set a portable alarm, such as one on a mobile phone, as a reminder for important medications and blood sugar testing.

Busy and changing schedules can make it challenging to remember medication or blood sugar checks. One way to avoid this is to set an alarm on a mobile phone or other portable device. This added reminder will make it easier to maintain important scheduled activities on the go.

2) Better yet, automate blood sugar testing with a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM).

CGMs can be extremely helpful during the holiday season because they automate blood sugar testing. CGMs are discreetly inserted under the skin and take regular glucose measurements on an ongoing basis. Since they alert the user to high and low glucose, they can be extremely handy for people on the go or who may be eating a bit differently during the holidays.

CGMs are covered by Medicare for qualifying patients – click here for more information about ordering this helpful tool.

3) Plan ahead for how many sweets and treats you will consume.

Getting to a party without a plan can often end in overindulgence. Be specific about what you are willing to “budget” for each holiday event – whether it’s a slice of grandma’s pie, a couple of chocolate goodies, or simply being conscientious of portion control. Those who are traveling to holiday parties with a close loved one, like a spouse or child, can share these “budgets” with their companion in order to better commit to the plan.

4) Offer to be the designated driver.

driving with neuropathy how toAlcohol is high in sugar and often plentiful at holiday parties. Once again, people with diabetes should plan ahead to clarify how much they can drink within their management plan. Those who wish to steer clear altogether can offer to drive others to and from a holiday party. This will be a help to others, as well as making it easier to explain why one is not drinking should they be asked.

5) Use a napkin instead of a plate when picking up appetizers.

Appetizers can sometimes be harder to manage than seated meals. It is easy to “lose track” of how much one has eaten while grazing on platters of meat, cheese, and goodies.

One way to ensure smaller portion sizes is to gather favorite snacks (especially vegetables!) on a napkin. This will ensure smaller portions compared to piling food a plate, while still giving people with diabetes the ability to carefully select, gather, and track items.

6) Contribute a dish to shared holiday meals.

One of the biggest challenges for diabetes during the holidays is the mystery of how meals are prepared. How much sugar, butter, and oil is in this dish, exactly?

While some families are not offended by the questioning, others might find it a faux pas to grill the host about their cooking methods. In these cases, people with diabetes can protect their health by contributing a healthy dish to the occasion.  This ensures that there will be something on the table they can eat if the menu appears to be out of line with the diabetes management plan.

7) Wear the right shoes when going out.

Foot injuries can lead to serious complications and even loss of limb in people with diabetes. This is why Medicare covers a pair of diabetic shoes and 3 sets of inserts for qualifying patients each year (click here for more information).

Wearing the right shoes is important during the holidays. You never know who might have a loose step, icy driveway or uneven floor. Additionally, standing to chat or walking between events will often be expected.

Whether you need winter-friendly boots or a nice pair of dress shoes for a church event, it’s a good idea to make sure a therapeutic pair is in the closet to match each occasion.


Deadline to Order Diabetic Shoes within Medicare’s “Calendar Year” is Weeks Away!

Important reminder:  Qualifying people with diabetes only have a few weeks left to order shoes for Medicare/insurance coverage within the 2018 calendar year. Click here or call 1-866-923-2423 to fill out an application for coverage today.

What does “calendar year” mean in Medicare or insurance terminology?

When someone orders diabetic shoes covered by Medicare or insurance, they may see the term “CY” or “Calendar Year” listed beside the coverage (see below image). But, what does that really mean?

medicare calendar year


In insurance and Medicare terminology, “calendar year” applies to the period between January and December of any given year. That means a covered individual can order one pair of shoes and three sets of inserts at any time in 2018, then again anytime in 2019, and again in 2020…any month within each year, as long as a doctor deems them medically necessary.

This is slightly different than having shoes covered once every 12 months because it is less restrictive – a claimant does not necessarily have to wait 12 months to get their next pair, so long as they are in the next calendar year. For example, a person could order a pair of diabetic shoes in November 2018, then get another pair in March 2019, and get their next pair in January 2020. This provides some freedom for people order shoes when they need them, rather than having to make them last for 12 months each time. This is a good thing, because diabetics should wear their therapeutic  shoes and inserts every day and may want new ones sooner than expected!

Don’t leave a diabetic shoe order to the last minute – order before the end of November!

Many people choose to order their diabetic shoes from nocostshoes.com at the end of the year. This can be strategic – those who get shoes in October or November have to wait less time to order their next pair of Medicare-covered shoes, since their coverage restarts again in January. Other times, it’s less about strategy and more the result of forgetting or putting off ordering until the end of the year.

Whatever the reason, waiting until October or November to place an order is a common choice, but ordering any later than that may place the order in the next calendar year. Why? Because there are several steps required to obtain Medicare coverage, all of which need to be completed within the calendar year (in this case, 2018) in order to finalize the claim.

For those who place an order for shoes after mid-December will have their order shipped and billed in January. As a result, their final Medicare claim will fall under the following calendar year.

Tips for remembering to order diabetic shoes

remembering diabetic shoe appointmentRemembering to order diabetic shoes during each calendar year isn’t just a smart choice financially – it is also critical for health and well-being. But, how can qualifying diabetic Americans remember to order a pair each year? Here are some of the things our customers do to keep this coverage top-of-mind:

  • Book regular appointments with a family doctor and ask them to make a note of the need for shoes each year. To access diabetic shoes covered by Medicare and/or insurance, people with diabetes need paperwork filled out by their doctors. That’s why many people who need diabetic shoes ask their family doctor to make a note on their charts about the need for this equipment each year. People who need these shoes should already have regular appointments booked in advance, so it’s easy to ask the office to note that this appointment should involve discussion of diabetic shoes. Also, when noting the appointment in one’s own calendar, be sure to add a note about diabetic shoes.
  • Order shoes right after a doctor’s appointment. Of course, a reminder from the doctor doesn’t mean much if it isn’t followed by action. Those who make a routine of ordering shoes right after a regular checkup each year may find it easier to remember this important order.
  • Ask a podiatrist if it’s time for new shoes. Those who are better able to remember deadlines can also be strategic about their order by asking their podiatrist during a Medicare-covered appointment to whether their inserts/shoes are due for a replacement. If they say no, it may be wise to wait until later in the year (September – early November) to order shoes. If they say yes, of course, order them ASAP!
  • Tell a few loved ones about the deadline. It might be tough to remember the application deadline on one’s own, but telling a spouse, caregiver, and children about it as well will increase the likelihood someone will remember.
  • Write it down. Of course, the best advice is often the simplest – make a note in a calendar and stick to it! For those who do better with routine, picking a month each year to make an order is the best option.

8 Eye-Opening Quotes from Famous People with Diabetes

With more than 100 million Americans living with prediabetes and diabetes, it’s no surprise that people with the diagnosis come from all walks of life. But some may be surprised just how many familiar faces and A-list celebrities balance diabetes management with superstardom. Diabetics in the public eye are often asked questions about their diagnosis, and their answers can be inspirational and enlightening. Here are 8 of our favourite lines from people with diabetes in the spotlight.

Larry King

Diabetes just boggles me. I know when you get a heart pain; I’ve had them. I don’t know what diabetes feels like. … If someone had said to me, “What’s your No. 1 health problem?” I would have said heart disease and then diabetes. And what doctors tell me now is that I can transpose them and say diabetes first. 

In this interview with Diabetes Forecast, longtime talk show host and diabetes advocate Larry King points to a very important topic: the relationship between heart health and diabetes. Often considered to be two distinct challenges, the reality is that diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand.  King shared, “My cardiologist said to me, diabetes is heart disease.”

Nick Jonas

“Diabetes sounds like you’re going to die when you hear it. I was immediately frightened. But once I got a better idea of what it was and that is was something I could manage myself, I was comforted.”

In his interview with fellow diabetic Larry King, Nick Jonas describes an experience with which many people with diabetes are familiar – confusion and panic at initial diagnosis, followed by a sense of security after some diabetes education. At No Cost Shoes, we have to tip our hats to diabetes management educators – they are so important to helping people like Nick understand the best way to manage diabetes day to day.

Later in the interview, Nick offers a glimpse of what diabetes management looks like to a touring musician. “I’ve had a few low blood sugars on stage,” he shared. “But, we have an amazing team when we’re on the road  who are always prepared. I have juice on the side of the stage and my guitar tech will bring it out and make sure I’m cool. It’s just about knowing how to manage your specific diabetes, I feel like. Once you get a handle on it, it’s okay.”

Dr. Phil McGraw

“One thing that you really have to do is move forward. You’ve gotta really tackle this. You can’t be a passive patient.”

Dr. Phil is no stranger to giving advice, but the tips he offers on diabetes are a bit more personal than his other quips. After being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes over 25 years ago, McGraw became an advocate for healthy living and personal care. In this interview with TV show The Doctors,  encourages fellow diabetics  to take action with five steps, including get educated, get a team, and replace bad habits. Watch his story and advice for others here:

Mary Tyler Moore

(on insulin injections) “It’s just like sitting down to the make up table – I’ve got this I’m going to put on, have a drink of coffee, you know – it’s part of your routine.” 

TV darling Mary Tyler Moore’s discussion of insulin may sound casual, but it’s clearly something she takes very seriously – enough to make several television appearances to discuss diabetes, including frank discussion of risks including blindness and amputation. This clip from a 2005 shows how her matter-of-fact approach helped her manage the diagnosis, which she received in 1969.

Tom Hanks

“Everybody’s going to have some degree of health problems, and as we get older I think we’ve gotta maintain.”

Tom Hanks’ revealed his diabetes in a 2013 interview on Letterman, where he lightheartedly poked fun at the diagnosis. In a follow-up interview, he clarified that although he handled the diagnosis well, self-care was a priority. “I know what I have to do. I have access to good doctors, I can eat good food, and after that it’s all up to the individual.”

Halle Berry

“People think it’s hard to cut out sugar, but it can be done. You just have to put some effort in.”

The always optimistic Halle Berry noted in an interview with Marie Claire that the diet required to manage her diabetes had actually contributed to a better quality of life for her whole family. “I’m healthier since the diagnosis,” She told the magazine. “And I think it has made me a better mom, because I’m so aware of how much sugar we consume. I’ve very conscious of what my children eat and how much they take in.”

Jay Cutler

In our profession, you’re supposed to be tough…I thought it was something I would just bounce back from. 

This relateable quote from NFL star Jay Cutler explains the process many people go through when first diagnosed with diabetes, especially those expected to be “tough” and healthy for work like professional athletes.  Today, Cutler is comfortable discussing the emotional side of diabetes as well as the physical challenges. “Sometimes I take pride in it, sometimes I feel bad for myself. There’s a whole range of emotions you go through.” Cutler reveals the challenges of being a diabetic pro athlete in a series of videos, which you can watch here:

Randy Jackson

[With diabetes] there are so many things that you learn that you didn’t think you wanted to know, but now you have this disease, you’ve gotta do it.

Award-winning producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson received his diabetes diagnosis while filming the popular talent show. Even though his father had the disease and he admits he wasn’t eating right, it still came as a shock. Luckily, he quickly learned to rise to the occassion. “All your life you’ve heard the doctors say diet and exercise actually works, but as I look back on it I was never really doing it. I had to have major behaviour modification in every way.” After losing 110 pounds and taking control of his diabetes, Jackson is able to share valuable lessons from his journey in appearances such as this interview with The Doctors.


Note: This article was written by No Cost Shoes, a leading diabetic shoe supplier that provides Medicare-covered therapeutic shoes, inserts, and medical aids to people across the United States. For more information on how to get what you need to manage diabetes at no cost to you, visit nocostshoes.com.

12 Signs It’s Time to See a Podiatrist

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in feet, ankles, and related structures in the leg. They help people who have issues such as dry heels, ankle pain, toe issues or other challenges related to their feet. For people with diabetes, the stakes are higher – podiatrists are a critical part of any diabetic treatment team, and knowing when to visit them can make a big difference in someone’s overall health.

No Cost Shoes is a supplier of therapeutic and diabetic shoes across the U.S., so we get questions about this a lot: “Why do I need a podiatrist?”, “How often should diabetics and non-diabetics get their feet checked?” and, of course, “What will my insurance cover?”

We think this information is important for anyone to have handy. So, we’ve developed this helpful list of 12 signs it’s time to see a podiatrist. This information can benefit everyone, though people with diabetes will find it particularly critical to follow.

1) It’s the doctor’s orders.

People often first mention foot issues to their family doctor, since this is the medical professional they see most regularly. Oftentimes, this physician will provide a referral to a podiatrist when patients bring up their feet. Like any medical referral, it’s important to follow it and see the recommended specialist.

Note: Individuals with diabetes should also speak with their physicians about filling out a Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN) to access Medicare-covered therapeutic shoes and inserts. Click here to read the full process for getting diabetic shoes and other aids covered by Medicare.

2) Certain types of swelling.

It is not unusual for feet to swell after some activity. In fact, just about everyone’s feet are bigger later in the day due to natural swelling (this is why we recommend getting a shoe fitting in the afternoon, rather than the morning). However, some types of swelling are cause for concern. For example:

  • Swelling in just one foot;
  • Swelling that is extreme, especially if there is also pain;
  • Swelling that is persistent and doesn’t go down.

This kind of swelling can indicate an injury, blood clot, heart/circulation problems, or kidney issues. A visit to your family doctor or podiatrist is a good idea in these cases.

3) Unexplainable pain and/or numbness in one or both feet.

foot pain diabetes why to see a podiatrist

Numbness and pain in feet can be a sign of neuropathy. Many find this pain particularly flares up at night or in the morning. Those experiencing unfamiliar pains or numbness should speak to a podiatrist right away.

4) A blister, ulcer or sore that won’t go away.

A small blister is usually not cause for concern in most people. However, those with diabetes in particular may find that a small sore can turn into a large ulcer without proper care. The main signs of serious foot ulcers include black tissue or gangrene around the wound.

Keep an eye out for discoloration around a wound (especially dark colors), pain near the area, or sign of infection. Anything unusual such as this should be looked at by a professional right away, especially if diabetes is involved. Depending on the situation, your doctor or podiatrist might request an immediate appointment to look at any abnormalities, as tiny blisters can become serious problems rather quickly for someone with diabetes.

5) Thick corns or calluses.

Corns and calluses can be extremely uncomfortable, and often the right pair of therapeutic inserts or shoes can help soften the issue. A podiatrist will be able to examine the corns and recommend the best treatment options.

6) Split skin and heel dryness.

cracking skin dry heels diabetic feet

Dry skin is a common challenge for many people, but can be particularly prevalent in those with diabetes. Therapeutic inserts and shoes recommended by a podiatrist can make a big difference here.

7) Bruising or discoloration on the feet.

It can be quite a shock to see bruising on one or both feet, particularly if you don’t remember any injury taking place. Sometimes, people with peripheral neuropathy can get a foot injury without knowing it – even broken bones might fly under the radar for numb feet! Bruising and discoloration certainly warrant a trip to the podiatrist, especially if the cause of the issue is unknown.

8) Toe issues like ingrown toes or hammertoes

Ingrown toenails, hammertoes and other issues with toes are all things a podiatrist should look into, particularly if toes are causing pain or making it difficult to walk. Any diabetic with such issues should see a podiatrist right away, as the combination of hammertoes and circulation issues can lead to infections and ulcers. Luckily, therapeutic shoes and inserts can often help minimize these risks.

9) Starting a new exercise plan (in some cases).

No, we’re not saying that you need to see a podiatrist every time you plan to go to the gym. However, they should be consulted in certain cases:

  • If it will be intensive for your feet, such as training for a marathon;
  • If you have diabetes, particularly if you have had foot issues in the past;
  • If you need special shoes or inserts to support your new regimen;
  • If you have had a foot injury, surgery or challenge in the past and need to be cleared for the new venture.

10) Needing advice, fittings or a prescription for therapeutic shoes.

Anyone can buy therapeutic shoes without a prescription, however a podiatrist can be very helpful in clarifying what type of shoes a person needs. They can also write a prescription for shoes to help people qualify for insurance coverage, as Medicare and most insurers cover shoes for certain diabetic patients.

Along with a prescription and Certificate of Medical Necessity, Medicare and most insurers also require therapeutic shoes to be properly fitted before providing coverage. This will ensure shoes and inserts are perfectly customized to a person’s feet, making them far more comfortable and effective. Shoe fittings can often be done at a podiatrist’s office, as well as through an in-home visit from a shoe fitter. Click here to read all the options available for diabetic shoe fittings.

11) Difficulty adjusting to new shoes.

Podiatrists can offer specific instructions for “breaking in” new shoes (especially therapeutic shoes) without risking an injury, blister or other issues. This advice can be extremely valuable, so make sure to call a specialist if new shoes are giving you trouble. Trying to just “push through” can cause damage, especially in those with pre-existing conditions.

12) Insurance/Medicare covers your visit.

Why visit a podiatrist? Well, for many people the question is “why not?”!

Annual podiatrist visits are covered by Medicare for people with diabetes. Others may have the specialist paid for at least in part by a group insurance plan. Check to see if you are covered – if you are, it’s a worthwhile visit to mark on your calendar.

What Medicare Covers for Diabetics Dealing with Chronic Pain

Living with diabetes often involves more than just a change in diet and regular glucose testing. Diabetic individuals in the United States often experience a wide variety of complications that have a significant impact on daily life. One of the most impactful (and frequently misunderstood) issues that many people deal with is chronic pain, often caused by neuropathy.

Those who are experiencing chronic pain with diabetes often have several questions: How do I manage these pain issues while still living my life to the fullest? What treatment options are available to me? What does Medicare or my insurance company cover to treat?

We are here to help clarify how people with diabetes can use their Medicare coverage to live their best lives when faced with chronic nerve pain.

Why is chronic pain common in people with diabetes?

Chronic pain is defined as moderate to severe pain that is felt on a daily basis and continues for over six months. Statistically, people with diabetes are more susceptible to long-term pain than those without the diagnosis. Not all nerve pain has the same root cause, however. Here are some of the reasons a person with diabetes may be dealing with this issue:

  • Neuropathy. This is a common complication of diabetes that can include pain and numbness in the back, feet or hands.
  • Arthritis. Type 2 diabetes and arthritis both disproportionately affect people who are older, making the combination fairly common among aging Americans.
  • Fibromyalgia and pain conditions. While these conditions may not be directly linked to diabetes, chronic pain disorders combined with diabetic neuropathy can exacerbate the challenges people face.

What can I do to manage my chronic pain with diabetes?

Prescription medications are often the first thing discussed when it comes to treating chronic pain, but many different and non-drug treatment options can  help support an effective treatment plan. Luckily, Medicare covers many of these things.

For a full list of items covered by Medicare for people with diabetes, click here.

1) Use a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS Therapy)

freedom tens unit covered by medicare for diabetes chronic painTENS therapy uses small electrical impulses to block pain signals and increase endorphins. It is recommended by many pain management professionals as a non-invasive, non-painful and non-surgical way to treat neuropathy and similar conditions.

Besides its effectiveness, this treatment is used by many people with chronic pain because it is easy to do from the comfort of  home. The FREEDOM TENS Unit is a device that people can keep on hand to respond to pain flare-ups. It comes with four modes (Burst, Normal, Pulse Width Modulation, Pulse Rate Modulation) allow users to modify the treatment depending on what works for them.

How to get it a TENS unit covered by Medicare: Talk to your doctor to get a signed “durable medical equipment” prescription for a TENS unit. You will need to meet certain standards in order to be approved for coverage, including the verifying that the pain is chronic (3 months or longer). Medicare will typically cover a 30 to 60 day rental of the unit to start, then allow people to move onto a full purchase if the treatment is successful. For more information on the paperwork needed and how to rent or buy a TENS unit, contact Quantum Medical Supply at 1-866-923-2423.

2) Wear the right shoes and inserts.

If you are feeling chronic pain in your feet, ankles, legs or even hips, there is some relief available: Medicare covers one pair of therapeutic shoes and three pairs of inserts for qualifying people each year. Even if the pain has not reached your feet, diabetic shoes can play an important role in protecting from future damage.

How to get diabetic shoes and inserts covered by Medicare: To obtain coverage, your doctor will need to fill out both a Certificate of Medical Necessity and a Shoe Prescription. The shoe prescription can also come from a podiatrist or nurse practitioner. Your shoes will also need to be professionally fitted and ordered your shoes from a Medicare-approved supplier. Some, like nocostshoes.com, are even able to directly bill your insurance company. To see if you qualify, click here to fill out our application.

3) Get back, knee, ankle and/or wrist braces.

Braces are commonly recommended by doctors and physiotherapists to reduce pain from free-moving joints. There are specific types of braces that may be more beneficial for long-term use by someone with chronic pain; for example, this product from TemCare Pro uses an air pump system to help people customize the compression for added comfort.

How to get diabetic shoes and inserts covered by Medicare: Like shoe coverage, a certificate of medical necessity and qualifying diagnosis is needed to get coverage for these items. For more details on what is available and the documents needed for coverage, call 866-923-2423.

4) Control your blood sugar using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

Managing blood sugar should be at the top of your list if you’re dealing with any symptoms of diabetes, including chronic pain from neuropathy. Medicare covers various blood sugar/glucose testing aids including test strips, syringes, and insulin pumps. One of the most exciting and often lesser known things Medicare covers for glucose management is a continuous glucose monitor or CGM.

Continuous glucose monitors like the Dexcom G6 are an easy-to-use alternative to a finger prick blood sugar test. Using a small sensor placed below the skin, it keeps an eye on glucose on an ongoing basis. This can improve the accuracy of readings and remove the discomfort of a traditional test. Best of all, this technology is free or deeply subsidized for people with Medicare and certain insurance plans!


The Diabetes Circulation Checklist: Are You Doing These 8 Things?

If you’ve seen a podiatrist for diabetes-related concerns, chances are you’ve heard the word “circulation” mentioned a few times. But what does circulation with diabetes really mean? More importantly, how can people avoid the blood flow related risks that come with a diabetes diagnosis?

This article will help you understand and respond to common circulation concerns with diabetes. We’ll explain exactly what risk factors are involved, then provide you an easy-to-follow checklist to stay as healthy as possible on a daily basis.

What is circulation and why does it matter so much for people with diabetes?

Circulation is another word for “blood flow.” When you have poor circulation, it means that one or more body parts are not getting enough blood.  Poor circulation can have many causes, from something as simple as bad fitting shoes through to some something as serious as a heart disorder.

Circulation matters for everyone, but people with diabetes should pay particular attention to this issue. High blood glucose levels caused by diabetes can damage blood vessels, limiting their ability to transfer blood to other cells. This can affect the flow of blood throughout the body.

One of the most common consequences of poor circulation in people with diabetes is foot complications. The word for feet or legs with poor circulation is “peripheral artery disease.”

Luckily, there are ways you can prevent and/or manage poor circulation. We’ve created this Diabetes Circulation Checklist to help guide the process.

Your Diabetes Circulation Checklist

□  Quit smoking. This is a tough one for many, but smoking has the biggest impact on your circulation as a diabetic.  If you want to prevent circulation issues, putting down cigarettes should be at the top of your “To Do” list.

□  Do some exercise several times per week. Don’t worry, we aren’t asking you to run a marathon (in fact, you don’t even need to hit the gym!). Just a brisk, 30-45 minute walk several times per week should do the trick.  Movement stimulates blood flow in legs, which can prevent peripheral artery disease. For more exercise tips for people with diabetes, click here.

□  Wear therapeutic shoes. Medicare and most insurance plans cover diabetic shoes for patients with a prescription. Approved supplier nocostshoes.com will even send a shoe fitter to your home to help you access shoes with no out of pocket cost. If you don’t have a prescription, you can still order shoes at low cost from their website.

□  Visit a podiatrist regularly. The best person to write your shoe prescription is a medical specialist who deals with foot issues. Annual visits to this type of doctor, called a podiatrist, are also covered by Medicare. They’ll also be able to identify any warning signs of circulation issues and give you tips on how to manage other foot conditions you may have.

□  Take a break when in pain. Regular exercise is important for managing circulation issues, but pushing yourself too far can have serious consequences. People with circulation issues may feel pain in their calves when walking, especially if they are moving quickly, uphill, or on a hard surface. Stop to rest if you are experiencing this, and speak to your doctor as soon as you can.

□  Wear warm support socks. Socks that are too tight or thin can worsen circulation issues for people with diabetes. Diabetic support socks can aid in circulation. They also help to warm up chilly feet, which is a common symptom for those experiencing circulation issues. Do not use hot water or heating pads to warm up your feet, as nerve damage may prevent you from feeling burns.

□  Examine your feet on a daily basis. Many telltale signs of poor circulation are evidence in the feet. Keep an eye out for sores that won’t heal, discoloration, shiny skin and slow toenail growth. If you see anything unusual, discuss it with your podiatrist.

□  Elevate your feet when you are sitting. Paying attention to your feet is important even when you’re not moving. Elevation and wiggling toes from time to time are great ways to encourage blood flow.

17 Creative Ways to Care for Diabetes

When most people think about how to care for diabetes, the words “creative” or “easy” probably don’t come to mind. It’s time to change that.

In this article, we go beyond the typical advice of “eat better!” and “check your blood sugar!” to offer super-specific tips on how to manage your own diabetes and/or how to care for a diabetic loved one. From free therapeutic shoes to hacks for remembering medications,  here are 17 super-helpful ways to keep diabetes under control.

  1. Do some meal preparation. Healthy eating is critical to diabetes management. Save time and make the diet shift easier by setting aside a few hours each week to prepare food for the coming days.
  2. Go to the Farmer’s Market. People with diabetes should eat lots of fruits and vegetables. What better place to find these items than your local market? Shopping at a local Market can get you on your feet and put fresh produce in your fridge. Win-win! For tips on what to get (and what to avoid) at the Farmer’s Market tips, this article offers some great pointers.
  3. Use free resources to educate yourself on sugars and carbohydrates. The best way to do this is through Medicare-covered Diabetes self-management training. You can also find fact sheets on these topics by reading our article on the Best Free Resources for People with Diabetes.
  4. Create a system for recording blood sugar (glucose) readings. Whether you use an app on your phone, enjoy the convenience of a Continuous Glucose Monitor, or simply keep a written log, make sure you have a way to share recent numbers with your family doctor.
  5. Organize medications by day. When you keep all your medications in the large generic containers used by most pharmacies,
    daily weekly pill box diabetes medications

    it can be difficult to remember whether you took your pills for the day. Make it easier by purchasing a day-by-day pillbox at the local pharmacy or dollar store.


  6. Set a reminder to take medications using an alarm or a smart pillbox. Missing medications can be a big risk to your health. Using an alarm or Smart Pillbox is a good way to make sure you stay on track with your medical plan.
  7. Wear diabetic shoes. If you have diabetes, you are
    at higher risk for foot complications and infections. That’s why Medicare covers one pair of diabetic shoes and three pairs of therapeutic inserts for people with diabetes and foot complications each year. Want to find great shoes that are covered by Medicare? Click here or on the image below to order your FREE color catalog
  8. Check your feet for cuts, blisters, red marks, swelling and other issues each day. Diabetic neuropathy may prevent you from feeling foot injuries, so take some time each day to look over your feet. If you can’t bend over to take a look, have someone else inspect your feet for you. Make an appointment with your podiatrist if something is amiss.
  9. Keep medications close to the kitchen to coordinate mealtime with medication time.  Many diabetes medications should be taken on a full stomach, so it’s a good idea to keep your pills on hand after lunch and dinner. It’s a good idea to create a healthy routine of eating good meals and taking medications around the same time each day.
  10. Prepare for special occasions and celebrations involving food. That Fourth of July BBQ won’t negatively impact your health if you show up with some sugar-smart alternatives!
  11. Go to the optometrist once per year (make sure you are also tested for glaucoma!). Medicare covers one eye exam and glaucoma test for adults with diabetes each year. Booking a regular appointment is a must to protect your sight from diabetes complications.
  12. Stay hydrated with water, not sugary drinks. Much of the sugar we consume each day is in the form of beverages, including soda, juice, and alcohol. Drinking lots of water will reduce your cravings for these items, helping you to manage your health.
  13. Get regular exercise, even if it’s just a walk each day.  Regular exercise is an important part of most treatment plans, but it doesn’t have be complex! Make walking around town or on a nearby trail a regular part of your day, or find an exercise class that you really enjoy. Working this into your normal schedule is a great way to support your health!
  14. Communicate openly with your doctor. Many health concerns that may seem “small” or unimportant, like blurry vision or a foot blister, can be a much bigger deal when combined with diabetes. It’s best to tell your doctor everything you can about your health – open communication can save your life.
  15. Store insulin properly. Insulin is an important part of most treatment plans, but failing to store it properly can render it useless. Make sure insulin is kept in a temperature controlled area and that it is not used after its expiry date.
  16. Set a reminder to brush and floss your teeth twice each day. People with diabetes are more likely to get infections in their teeth and gums. Care for the health of your mouth with regular brushing and flossing. A visit to the dentist is also a good idea.
  17. Take up a relaxing hobby and lower your stress levels. Diabetes and stress is a bad combination for your blood pressure and heart health.  Take time to garden, read a book, listen to relaxing music – whatever you enjoy most! This will help you to relax and keep your stress levels under control.

Where to Get Fitted for Diabetic Shoes

The online marketplace is buzzing with websites where you can buy diabetic shoes at the click of a button. This may seem like a convenient option, but if you’re not careful you could miss a critical step: Getting your diabetic shoe fitting from a certified and Medicare-approved shoe fitter.

Many people are surprised to learn that feet can change size from one year to the next. While all diabetic shoe brands available on nocostshoes.com are Medicare approved, picking the right one for you may require some professional help.

Why do you need to get professionally fitted for your diabetic shoes?

There are a few reasons to involve a foot care professional in selecting your diabetic shoes.

  • Medicare and insurance often require a professional fit. After all, no insurer wants to pay for shoes that hurt more than they help!
  • Improperly fitting shoes can exaserbate foot problems. When you have diabetes, even the smallest blister can turn into a life-altering ulcer. The impact of this should not be underestimated.
  • Shoe fittings are covered anyways, so why not? If you are eligible for coverage, Medicare will cover the furnishing and fitting of one pair of therepeutic shoes and three sets of inserts per year.

What is a licensed shoe fitter, exactly?

One common misconception is that a “shoe fitter” is anyone with a measuring tape who works in a shoe store. In reality, fitting people for therepeutic shoes requires a bit more expertise.

The American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics, Inc (ABC) is the body that trains and certifies shoe fitters in the United States. Your insurance may require that someone with the certification “ABC Certified Fitter-Therapeutic Shoes (ABC CFts)” or an equivilant background confirm your shoe size before you order shoes.

Now we come to the most pressing question – where in the world can you find these very specific professionals?

Option #1 – Get a Medicare approved in-home shoe fitting.

For most people, the most convenient option is to arrange for an in-home shoe fitting. Medicare-approved shoe supplier Quantum Medical Supply offers fittings from certified professionals who come right to you. In-home shoe fitters can also help you to select and order shoes from approved suppliers, directly billing Medicare or insurance for cost.

To arrange for your fitting, check your eligibility at nocostshoes.com or call 1-866-923-2423.

Option #2 – Visit your Podiatrist’s office.

Podiatrists and their assistants are able to provide shoe fitting services as needed. If you are regularly seeing one of the below professionals, consider asking them about shoe fitting at your next appointment:dr with xray feet back joints why to wear orthotics

  • A podiatrist
  • An orthotist
  • A prosthetist
  • A pedorthist

If your doctor does not supply shoes directly, they may offer you a recommendation for where to purchase shoes. Having your feet measured by someone connected with the supplier is a good idea, even if your podiatrist has already taken a look. This will help you account for any differences between brands and give you an opportunity to select shoes that are comfortable for you.

Option #3 – Check with your pharmacy.

As of 2012, 25 percent of ABC Certified Fitter-Therapeutic Shoes (ABC CFts) worked in a pharmacy setting. Your pharmacy may have someone on staff with the right designation, or they may be able to refer you to a professional nearby. Pharmacies are also a good source for some types of therapeutic inserts.

Making Sure Your Shoe Fitting is Covered by Medicare

You should always confirm the credentials of your shoe fitter to ensure their services will be covered under your health care plan. The best option is to use someone who can directly bill your insurance or Medicare. This lowers your risk and confirms that they are approved to provide this service.

Finding the right pair of shoes is important, so don’t be afraid to ask for help throughout this process! You can reach out to the a diabetic shoe supplier such as nocostshoes.com, speak with your podiatrist, or contact Medicare directly to confirm the details you may need.