Tricare

By RON HOLLOWAY,

Thanks to Mr. Tommy Parker for telling me that if you are expecting to receive a Form 1095-A, you should wait to file your income tax return until you receive that form. However, it is not necessary to wait for Forms 1095-B or 1095-C in order to file, (The IRS Form 1095-B is for Military Retirees and Former Spouses and the Form 1095-C is for Active Duty Military and Federal Civilian Employees).

Some taxpayers may not receive a Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C by the time they are ready to file their tax return. While the information on these forms may assist in preparing a return, they are not required. Individual taxpayers should not wait for these forms and file their returns as they normally would.

So, if you are a duty active or retired military or retired federal employee, go ahead and file your returns using other information about their health insurance.

On Jan. 1, Tricare began providing Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) for members with uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes.

Previously, the devices were authorized only in limited circumstances for those with Type 1 diabetes.

A CGM consists of three main parts:

The sensor, which monitors your real-time glucose levels. The sensor is usually placed under the skin by the user with a simple applicator. Sensors are normally worn for one or two weeks, depending on the system.

The transmitter, which sits on top of the sensor and sends data to the receiver/app.

The receiver, which displays and records real-time glucose numbers, trends and history. Of course, many CGMs offer smartphone apps that allow you to easily view your data or share it with your physician.

Some brands of CGMs also interface with glucose pumps, which allow automated insulin delivery based on the situation.

A CGM greatly alleviates the need to stick your fingers and self-test with blood glucose test strips, although it doesn't do away with the need for self administered blood testing altogether.

To be eligible for a Tricare-provided CGM, you must meet all the following requirements:

Completion of a comprehensive diabetic education program;

Need for at least three insulin injections per day or insulin pump therapy, with frequent self-adjustment of insulin doses in the last three months;

Documented blood glucose self-testing on average of at least four times per day.

You must also have one of the following conditions:

Glycosylated hemoglobin level (HBA1c) greater than 7.0% or less than 4.0%;

History of unexplained large fluctuations in daily glucose values before meals;

History of early morning fasting hyperglycemia ("dawn phenomenon");

History of severe glycemic excursions;

Hypoglycemic unawareness;

History of recurrent, unexplained, severe hypoglycemic events (i.e., blood glucose less than 50 mg/dl);

History of recurrent episodes of ketoacidosis;

Hospitalizations for uncontrolled glucose levels;

Frequent nocturnal hypoglycemia;

Pregnancy with poorly controlled diabetes or gestational diabetes.

The CGM is covered under your Tricare "Durable Medical Equipment" benefit so, depending on which Tricare plan you have, you may be able to get one at no cost.