Tips for Getting Medicare to Pay for Diabetic Shoes and Inserts

Diabetes, a disease that disrupts your body’s ability to convert food into energy, can give rise to severe consequences affecting your heart, nerves, kidneys, eyes and feet. While there is no cure, there are programs available to work with you and your doctor to take the necessary steps to manage the condition.

Medicare Benefits Solutions

Apr 11, 2022

timer 5 minutes read

The Impact of Diabetes on Your Feet

Nerve damage and poor blood flow are both common complications of diabetes and can affect your mobility and independence if your feet are affected. Podiatrists can help patients manage or circumvent foot-related difficulties due to diabetes.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) offers patients with diabetes these foot care tips:

  • Each day, examine your feet and toes, looking for cuts, sores, discoloration, bruises, swelling, numbness and dry cracks.
  • Check your toenails for thickening and discoloration.
  • Choose socks that are thick and soft.
  • Manage your weight and circulation by exercising regularly while ensuring your shoes are appropriate for the activity.
  • Wear appropriate footwear, even at home, and refrain from going barefoot to avoid cuts and infection on your feet.
  • Only a qualified doctor should remove skin growths or thickened skin, such as calluses, warts or corns.
  • Ensure you are wearing shoes that have been carefully measured and fitted, keeping in mind that the size and shape of your feet can change over time.

Get easy-to-read, informative Medicare articles like this in your inbox every month.

Medicare Benefits Solutions is a non-government website. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Medicare Benefits Solutions, herein after referred to as “Medicare Benefits”, which is a brand operated by HealthCompare Insurance Services Inc., its agents, or affiliates to contact me (even if I’m on a state or national do not call registry) at the phone number or email address listed to provide me with quotes or information about Medicare products. I further consent to such calls or texts sent via autodialer, automated technology, prerecorded message and/or artificial voice. I understand my consent is not a condition of purchase and that I can revoke my consent at any time via medicarebenefits.com/about-us/contact-us. Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

Foot Health Diagnosis and Treatment

Medicare Part B covers an annual visit to your doctor for foot care if one of these applies:

  • You have nerve damage in your lower leg related to diabetes, which may increase the chances of losing a limb
  • You have a medically necessary need for treatment related to injuries or diseases related to your feet, such as hammertoes, heel spurs and bunion deformities

Your share of the cost is the Part B deductible and coinsurance. If treated in a hospital outpatient center, you may also have to pay a copayment.

According to rules set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the certifying physician who diagnoses and treats your diabetic condition must be a medical doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO). CMS also addresses Medicare’s coverage of shoes, inserts and other footwear for people with diabetes.

Will Medicare Pay for Shoes for Diabetics?

If you have diabetes and severe foot disease related to diabetes, Medicare Part B covers one pair of medically necessary custom-molded shoes and inserts. Alternatively, you can get one pair of extra-depth shoes.

Part B also covers:

  • Two additional pairs of inserts for custom-molded diabetic shoes
  • Three pairs of inserts for extra-depth diabetic shoes
  • Shoe modifications rather than inserts

How Often Will Medicare Pay for Diabetic Shoes?

If you have Part B, you are eligible for benefits for diabetic shoes and inserts once per calendar year.

Criteria for Coverage

CMS established the following criteria for coverage of therapeutic shoes, inserts and modifications:

  • You have a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus from a certifying physician.
  • The certifying physician has documented your medical history of foot complications, such as amputation, ulceration, pre-ulcerative calluses, peripheral neuropathy, deformity or poor circulation.
  • You must meet with your certifying physician within six months before your shoes and inserts are delivered. The physician must sign a certification statement within three months before delivering the items.
  • Your supplier must perform and document an in-person evaluation.
  • At the time of delivery, the supplier must document an assessment of how the shoes and inserts fit.

How do I Get Medicare to Pay for Diabetic Shoes?

Before purchasing diabetic shoes, confirm that both your doctor and the diabetic shoe supplier are enrolled in Medicare. Medicare will not pay claims submitted by providers who are not enrolled.

Ask suppliers if they participate in Medicare. Only participating suppliers are required to accept assignment. By accepting assignment, the supplier agrees to charge you only the coinsurance and deductible. This rule applies to any durable medical equipment items you purchase, such as wheelchairs, walkers and orthotics.

When you purchase diabetic shoes from a participating supplier, your share of the cost is limited to:

  • 20% of the Medicare-approved amount
  • Part B deductible, which is $233 in 2022

How Do I Get Reimbursed From Medicare for Diabetic Shoes?

Participating suppliers generally bill Medicare or Medicare Advantage directly. Note that Medicare Advantage plans have their own provider networks, so check your plan benefits and provider directory before making your purchase.

If you have a Medigap policy to supplement Original Medicare, check your plan for coverage of the Part B coinsurance. Most Medigap plans pay the Part B coinsurance at 100% for covered services, with the exceptions of Plan K and Plan L, which cover part of the coinsurance. Unless you purchased a Plan C or Plan F prior to January 1, 2020, you will still be responsible for the Part B deductible.

Diabetic Shoes Near Me

The prescribing practitioner who writes the order for diabetic shoes and inserts may be a podiatrist, medical doctor (MD), doctor of osteopathy (DO), physician assistant (PA), nurse practitioner (NP) or a clinical nurse specialist. Your prescribing practitioner may also be the supplier that furnishes your shoes, inserts or modifications.

If the practitioner refers you to a supplier, confirm that the supplier is enrolled in Medicare and accepts assignment. If you are a Medicare Advantage member, ensure that the supplier participates in your plan’s network.

Diabetes Management

In addition to your MD or DO, be sure to arrange regular checkups with an ophthalmologist to check blood flow to your eyes, a dentist to look for gum issues resulting from excess blood sugar, and your primary physician to provide appropriate referrals. The APMA asserts that diabetes “can be controlled successfully with guidance and treatment from a team of medical specialists.”

For more helpful articles like this one, follow us:

Find a new Medicare plan

Get a plan recommendation based on what's important to you.

Got questions?

Call a licensed sales agent at

866-576-2956
or TTY 711

Mon to Fri 5 am - 8 pm PT | Sat 5 am - 5 pm PT | Sun closed

Send us a message

We aim to reply within 24 hours.



    Medicare Benefits Solutions is a non-government website. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Medicare Benefits Solutions, herein after referred to as “Medicare Benefits”, which is a brand operated by HealthCompare Insurance Services Inc., its agents, or affiliates to contact me (even if I’m on a state or national do not call registry) at the phone number or email address listed to provide me with quotes or information about Medicare products. I further consent to such calls or texts sent via autodialer, automated technology, prerecorded message and/or artificial voice. I understand my consent is not a condition of purchase and that I can revoke my consent at any time via medicarebenefits.com/about-us/contact-us. Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

    Find a plan

    find a plan
    Get plan recommendations

    Compare your current Medicare plan to our recommendations – then choose the plan that gives you more of the things you want.