Latest Info on Medicare and Dexcom Smartphone Use

There has been a lot of confusion on diabetes social media about the recent Medicare announcement on Dexcom and smartphones: exactly what it means and when the new policy will be implemented. The confusion was magnified by some incorrect information in the Dexcom press release and a wrong statement in the recent Diatribe article. I shared a little info here a couple of days ago. Some of you may know that I am a blogger and I finally decided that I needed to do my homework and find out what the real story is. I think that if you are affected by this issue that this blogpost will clarify the status of the policy change.

If you do not know who Christel Marchand Aprigliano is, she is the face of the diabetes advocacy organization DPAC. She attended the June 13 meeting with CMS in Washington, DC along with representatives from AACE, the National Association of the Blind, the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endo Society, and the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance. She is also the founder of the Diabetes UnConference. She has also attended meetings with both Dexcom and Tandem. She is an extremely reliable source and is quoted extensively in my blogpost. She shared my blogpost on Facebook and vouched for its accuracy.


Thank-you for posting this, Laddie. Your dedication to getting the story straight does show. Watching the confusion, incomplete information, and incorrect information in the Facebook groups made me glad that I’ve been able to stay on the sidelines with my dated non-Medicare G4 system.

It seems like just as many seniors are interested in ditching their Dexcom receiver in favor of thier smartphone as there are those who want to use a smartphone to facilitate sharing their real-time BG data. The perceived attraction of carrying one less device seems dubious to me as many of us have to carry a long list of items with us whenever we leave the house anyway. Carrying an additional 4"x 1.75" x 1/2" receiver just doesn’t seem like much of a burden to me. Well, to each his own.

It surprised me that Dexcom lost control of releasing consistent and correct information across the many public facing departments they staff. I hope they draw effective lessons from this and are able to handle this type of thing better in the future. I still love their products.

Bottom line, I’m happy that Medicare will permit smartphone use since some of us, especially as we age and need more help from loved ones, will definitely benefit from that help. The original Medicare decision to disallow any use of smartphones and proscribe draconian penalties for infractions was a poor one. I can only hope that the bureaucrats who drove that poor decision have learned something. I hope that their perception of the realities of using insulin as one ages is now better informed.


They definitely have a “right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing” situation going on with respect to providing the correct info on Medicare restrictions.

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How would they know if you are not using both?

  1. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to your smartphone exclusively without some use of the receiver. “In conjunction” means “with” and “combining” not burying the receiver in a sock drawer.

Frankly, @Eric2, I have no idea. It was easy for Dexcom to see when users installed the app on their phone because data from the app is immediately connected to Dexcom Clarity. As far as I know, the only way to prove you’re using the receiver is to download it to Clarity. Currently there is no requirement to download your receiver and of course not everyone using Dexcom has a computer or the knowhow to download it.

Until I see the final policies, I will be slightly nervous that they will include some illogical onerous requirements… At the same time I am thrilled that at least the door is opened to using our phones.

Exactly. The only way they could “force” a patient to provide Clarity data is through the doctor’s office, similarly to how they require 90 day visits to keep current with pump supplies, etc. It’s conceivable that at some point they could have a requirement that data is periodically provided to them from the system, to show that what they are paying for, is being used by the patient. I can fully understand and appreciable their position that all this expensive tech ACTUALLY be used by the patient and not stashed or sold. Frankly, I’m shocked that they don’t already require proof that the ongoing supplies such as sensors are being worn by their patients.