Diabetic Monitors: FSA Eligibility
What is a diabetes monitor?
Individuals who suffer from type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes) or type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes) are both prime candidates for diabetes monitors, also known as blood glucose meters. Testing blood glucose (sugar) levels can be a helpful tool for some individuals with diabetes, while for others, it is a necessary part of their care regimen that must be checked in the event of exercise, food, medication and stress. Irregular blood glucose levels can lead to major health issues, including hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, or diabetic ketoacidosis (Healthline).
Testing one's blood sugar is an effective means of judging how well a patient's treatment plan is progressing, tracing patterns in blood sugar levels dictated by diet and exercise, monitoring the effect of diabetes medications and quickly identifying when blood sugar levels are too high or low. Individuals with type 1 diabetes will test their blood sugar between 4-8 times per day, while those with type 2 diabetes typically test theirs 2-3 times daily.
What are the types of diabetes monitors?
When choosing a diabetes monitor, it's important for individuals with diabetes to understand the basics of how they work and whether more advanced designs are applicable for their needs (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). The vast majority of diabetes monitors utilize test strips where blood is applied, which is extracted from the patient's finger with a special needle called a lancet. This strip is placed into the diabetes monitor where it will read the blood's glucose levels. However, in recent years, new designs that utilize lasers to measure blood glucose levels have become increasingly popular. No matter what type the account holder chooses, they should consider a device with the following features:
- Ease of use/maintenance: Choosing a blood glucose monitor should allow the user to quickly and easily measure his/her glucose levels, and some of these devices are more simple than others. Some key factors to consider are how easy screens are to read, how quickly it will read test strips and the long-term cost of test strips.
- Long-term forecasting: Some diabetes monitors will utilize sophisticated information storage and retrieval to keep track of glucose readings over time. This will allow the user to monitor relevant trends, and some devices will allow the user to download these readings onto a computer or mobile device where they can be easily sent to a physician or other medical professional.
- Special Features: Last but not least, diabetes monitor users should consider special features like audio functions, wide-screen displays, ease of use with test strips and other factors to inform their decision to choose a diabetes monitor that suits their needs.
Under IRC 213(d)(1), "medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body." This includes medical equipment and devices.