Diabetes and high blood pressure are incredibly common in the United States. That’s the bad news. The good news is that health insurance options are available for people with these conditions.
According to the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9.4 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes. That’s nearly one out of ten people, or 30.3 million people total. Only 23.1 million people have been diagnosed, however. Another 7.2 million have diabetes but are unaware of the condition.
Even more people – 84.1 million adults, or 33.9 percent of the adult U.S. population – have prediabetes. This means that one-third of the U.S. adult population is at risk of developing diabetes in the near future.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is also common and underdiagnosed. It’s called the silent killer because many people don’t realize they have it unless they’re tested for it. According to the CDC, approximately 75 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, and only 54 percent of these individuals have the condition under control.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you’re not alone.
Proactive Treatment is Essential
Individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure require medical testing to diagnose their conditions and medical care to manage their conditions. Without treatment, diabetes can lead to vision problems, nerve damage, kidney disease and other serious health issues. High blood pressure increases a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke.
While this may sound scary, ignoring these conditions does not lessen their negative effects. Health insurance can help make sure individuals have access to the treatments they need. Even if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, effective and affordable health insurance is still available.
Your Health Insurance Options
Your risk for developing diabetes and high blood pressure increases as you age. According to the CDC, 25 percent of adults aged 65 and older have diabetes. Among men between the ages of 65 and 74, 64 percent have high blood pressure and 69.3 percent of women in the same age group have high blood pressure.
Individual and family health insurance plans can provide coverage for people with diabetes and high blood pressure. However, because so many people with these conditions are age 65 or older, Medicare is a primary insurance option.
Individuals become eligible for Medicare enrollment when they turn 65. It’s also possible to qualify for Medicare earlier if you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance.
Medicare Coverage for Diabetes and High Blood Pressure
Medicare actually includes several elements.
- Medicare Part A covers hospital care, including inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, hospice, lab tests, surgery and home health care.
- Medicare Part B covers medical services, including doctor services, outpatient services, preventative care and durable medical equipment. This includes diabetes and cardiovascular disease screenings, as well as diabetes self-management training and home blood sugar monitors if needed.
- Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs. This includes medical supplies used to administer insulin and medication used to treat hypertension.
While these Medicare plans provide important coverage, some individuals find that they are not enough to meet their needs. For this reason, some people choose to enroll in various Medicare Supplement Insurance plans.
Sometimes called Medigap, Medicare Supplement Insurance pays for some of the health care costs that Medicare does not cover – filling in the coverage gaps so you’re better protected. Medicare Supplement Insurance can help pay for deductibles, copayments and coinsurance costs.
The best time to sign up for a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is during the six-month open enrollment/guaranteed issue period, which begins on the first day of the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. By enrolling during this period, you don’t have to worry about being denied or charged more due to your health conditions.
Medicare Advantage & Special Needs Plans
Medicare Advantage, also called Medicare Part C, refers to insurance plans that have been approved by Medicare but are sold by private insurers. They combine coverage associated with Medicare Parts A and B. Most also include prescription coverage, and many plans provide additional coverage, such as vision and dental coverage.
Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are Medicare Advantage plans designed to meet the needs of individuals with specific conditions. Different SNPs cater to different conditions, such as dementia, cancer and chronic lung disorders.
SNPs always provide prescription drug coverage. On top of that, the formularies and provider choices are designed with the specific needs of the enrollees in mind. There are SNPs for both diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, although enrollment is limited to the plan’s geographic service area.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, don’t wait. Complete the form to the right to explore your coverage options.