The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly 20.8 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes. Studies have shown that 25 percent of persons with diabetes develop foot problems related to the disease, and that up to 15 percent of persons with diabetes develop foot ulcers. Since 1993, Medicare has covered certain therapeutic shoes, inserts and modifications for persons with diabetes who meet specified qualifying requirements.
*Medicare covers diabetic shoes, inserts and modifications for program beneficiaries only if the following criteria are met:
- The patient has diabetes and one or more of the following conditions: Previous amputation of the other foot, or part of either foot, or History of previous foot ulceration of either foot, or History of pre-ulcerative calluses of either foot, or Peripheral neuropathy with evidence of callus formation of either foot, or Foot deformity of either foot, or Poor circulation in either foot
- The patient has a prescription for a particular type of footwear (e.g., shoes, inserts, modifications) from a physician who is knowledgeable of diabetic shoes and inserts.
- A Statement of Certifying Physician for Therapeutic Shoes from a physician who manages the patients diabetes, which certifies that the patient (a) has diabetes mellitus, (b) has at least one of the qualifying conditions (see above), (c) is being treated under a comprehensive plan of care for his or her diabetes, and (d) needs diabetic shoes.