Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Medicare Coverage of Therapeutic Footwear for People with Diabetes

Medicare provides coverage for depth-inlay shoes, custom-molded shoes, and shoe inserts for people with diabetes who qualify under Medicare Part B. Designed to prevent lower-limb ulcers and amputations in people who have diabetes, this Medicare benefit can prevent suffering and save money.

How Individuals Qualify

The M.D. or D.O. treating the patient for diabetes must certify that the individual:

1. Has diabetes.

2. Has one or more of the following conditions in one or both feet:

  • history of partial or complete foot amputation
  • history of previous foot ulceration
  • history of preulcerative callus
  • peripheral neuropathy with evidence of callus formation
  • poor circulation
  • foot deformity

3. Is being treated under a comprehensive diabetes care plan and needs therapeutic shoes and/or inserts because of diabetes.

Type of Footwear Covered

If an individual qualifies, he/she is limited to one of the following footwear categories within one calendar year:

1. One pair of depth-inlay shoes and three pairs of inserts

2. One pair of custom-molded shoes (including inserts) and two additional pairs of inserts.

Separate inserts may be covered under certain criteria. Shoe modification is covered as a substitute for an insert, and a custom-molded shoe is covered when the individual has a foot deformity that cannot be accommodated by a depth shoe.

What the Physician Needs to Do

1. The certifying physician (the M.D. or D.O.) overseeing the diabetes treatment must review and sign a "Certification Statement for Therapeutic Footwear".

2. The prescribing physician (the D.P.M., orthopedic foot surgeon, or M.D.) must complete a "Prescription Form for Therapeutic Footwear". Once the patient has the signed statement and the prescription, he/she can see a podiatrist, orthotist, prosthetist, or pedorthist to have the prescription filled. The supplier will then submit the Medicare claim form (Form HCFA 1500) to the appropriate Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carrier (DMERC), keeping copies of the claim form and the original statement and prescription.

Note that in most cases the certifying physician and the prescribing physician will be two different individuals.

Patient Responsibility for Payment

Medicare will pay for 80% of the payment amount allowed either directly to the patient or by reimbursement. The patient is responsible for a minimum of 20% of the total payment amount and possibly more if the dispenser does not accept Medicare assignment and if the dispenser's usual fee is higher than the payment amount. The maximum payment amount per pair as of 1997 is listed below. These figures may change.

Total Amount Allowed

Amount Covered by Medicare

Depth-inlay shoes



Custom-molded shoes



Inserts or modifications



Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner