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Diabetic Socks: Everything You Need to Know

Every 1 in 10 people is suffering from diabetes. This means every person with this health condition needs to worry about what they eat, drink, and most importantly what they wear on their feet.

It can be easy for Diabetic patients to overlook the importance of footwear, but we need to remind them that it should be a daily priority.
Before the footwear comes socks, diabetic patients need to know what types of socks they should and should not be wearing.

This article will give you all the answers to the question, “What are diabetic socks?” and points you in the right direction for diabetic footwear so you can pass on the information to your patients.

What Are Diabetic Socks?

Copper Cloud Socks

First, let’s cover the basics…

Diabetic socks are specially designed to reduce one’s risk of a foot injury, improve blood circulation, help prevent bacteria formation and make sure the feet stay dry. Diabetic Socks could be a life-changing addition to your patients’ lives.

But, how do they differ from regular socks?

1. Circulation

It is common for people suffering from diabetes to have problems with their feet that can lead to swelling and loss of nerve damage. The scientific name for this is neuropathy.

By removing the elastic that puts pressure on your feet from regular socks, diabetic socks allow blood to flow and help prevent the risks associated with socks that do not accommodate edema.

2. Rubbing

Diabetic patients are at higher risk of having foot complications like sores, open wounds, and blisters. Socks with too much compression or that are too tight will cause rubbing and exacerbate these issues.

Diabetic socks ease the tension and provide a more comfortable fit so you don’t have to experience the constant rubbing that is associated with normal socks.

Additionally, diabetic socks may be infused with Copper yarn, which has natural antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and anti-odor properties that help keep the feet in a clean environment and leaves skin softer.

3. Sweat Reduction

It is also important for patients to keep their feet dry. Why? Because sweat that festers for too long can cause infections and sores.

The best diabetic socks keep your feet dry and cozy. The ideal combination. Most diabetic socks have moisture-wicking properties that help keep the feet dry. Additionally, some socks may be specifically ventilated to promote temperature control and airflow.

It’s important to provide your patients with everything they need to manage their condition and get the best out of their daily lives. Helping prevent feet issues with the proper diabetic socks is a great start.

Other Ways to Support Diabetic Feet

You can never have too much foot support. Make sure you pair diabetic socks with proper diabetic footwear for your patients.

Here is a list of features you will want to look for when recommending diabetic footwear to your patients:

  • Protective interior lining
  • Stretchable uppers
  • Firm Heel Counter
  • Stable midsole/outsole
  • Extra-depth to accommodate orthotic inserts
  • High and wide toe box
  • Adaptable closure

Copper Cloud Socks

The next time your patient asks about ways to support their feet you can suggest diabetic socks, diabetic footwear, as well as supportive inserts. You can find all of your diabetic footwear needs by visiting the SafeStep website!

Medicare DME Reimbursement Increases in 2022

2022 Updated reimbursements:

Depth Shoes (A5500): pair $186.72 (Ceiling)
Prefabricated, Heat Molded Inserts (A5512): pair $76.16 (Ceiling)
Custom Milled Inserts (A5514): pair $113.64 (Ceiling)
Depth Shoes w/3 pr. Prefab, Heat Molded Inserts: $415.20 (Ceiling)
Depth Shoes w/3 pr. Custom Milled Inserts: $527.64 (Ceiling)
Custom Molded Shoes (A5501): $560.00 (Ceiling)
Arizona AFO, Standard (L1940, L2330, L2820): each – Ceiling $1281.17, Floor $960.88
Arizona Balance Brace (L1940, L2330, L2820): pair – Ceiling $2562.34, Floor $1921.76

Medicare DME Reimbursement Increases in 2020

Good news!

On January 1, 2020, Medicare increased the amount it pays for diabetic shoes, Moore Balance Brace and Arizona custom AFOs.

While the amounts paid may vary slightly by state, the National Fee Schedule is as follows:

Depth Shoes (A5500): pair $147.74
Prefabricated, Heat Molded Inserts (A5512): pair $60.26
Custom Milled Inserts (A5514): pair $89.92

Depth Shoes w/3 pr. Prefab, Heat Molded Inserts: $328.52
Depth Shoes w/3 pr. Custom Molded Inserts: $417.50

Custom Molded Shoes w/offset heels and rocker bottoms: $585.26

Arizona AFO, Standard (L1940, L2330, L2820): each – Ceiling $1216.57, Floor $912.42
Moore Balance Brace (L1940, L2330, L2820): pair – Ceiling $2433.14, Floor $1824.84

For a complete listing of updated DME allowables, including prefabricated and custom ankle-foot orthoses, visit:

Medicare DME Supplier Enrollment Now Easiest If Done Online!

The Internet-based PECOS (Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System) can be used in lieu of the Medicare enrollment application (i.e., paper CMS-855) to:

  • Submit an initial Medicare enrollment application
  • View or change your enrollment information
  • Track your enrollment application through the web submission process
  • Add or change a reassignment of benefits
  • Submit changes to existing Medicare enrollment information
  • Reactivate an existing enrollment record
  • Withdraw from the Medicare Program
  • Submit a Change of Ownership (CHOW) of the Medicare-enrolled provider

Advantages of Internet-based PECOS

  • Faster than paper-based enrollment (45 day processing time in most cases, vs. 60 days for paper)
  • Easy to check and update your information for accuracy
  • Less staff time and administrative costs to complete and submit enrollment to Medicare

Using Internet-based PECOS Is Easy!

Before initiating an enrollment action using Internet-based PECOS, you should review the applicable “Basics of Internet-based Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS)” Fact Sheet(s) and “Enrolllment Example” below.


Physicians and non-physician practitioners may access Internet-based PECOS by using the User IDs and passwords that they established when they applied on-line to the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) for their National Provider Identifiers (NPIs).   If you have forgotten your User IDs or passwords, or otherwise need assistance in this regard, contact the NPI Enumerator at 1-800-465-3203 or

  1. Log onto Internet-based PECOS with your NPPES User ID and password.
  2. Complete, review, and submit an electronic enrollment application. Internet-based PECOS will walk you through the application process and supply you with a 2-page Certification Statement for each enrollment application you submit.
  3. Mail the original signed Certification Statement from Internet-based PECOS and supporting documents to the Medicare contractor within 15 days of your electronic submission.


Correct Coding – RT and LT Modifier

Until now, suppliers billing for bilateral DME devices including therapeutic shoes for patients with diabetes, diabetic inserts, custom AFOs or custom foot orthoses, have been able to submit electronic claims by indicating the total quantity and using the RTLT modifier on a single line OR by using RT on one line and LT on another, noting half the quantity on each.

Beginning March 1, 2019, such claims MUST be submitted using two separate lines, using the RT and LT modifier on each. Units of service (UOS) should be “1″ on each line for shoes and for AFOs; it should be up to “3″ on each line, for prefabricated or custom diabetic inserts. Claim lines for HCPCS codes requiring use of the RT and LT modifiers, billed without the RT and / or LT modifier or with RTLT on a single claim line, will be rejected as incorrect coding.

Suppliers who have been submitting codes for bilateral devices using one line are advised to start billing on two separate lines NOW and not wait until March 1.

As always, each claim line should also include the modifier KX to indicate that all required compliance documentation is on file. When billing L3000 for custom foot orthotic devices, the GY modifier should be used to indicate that the item is statutorily excluded and cause the claim to deny.

For a link to the Medicare carrier website and Policy Articles, see:

Helpful Links Using the Medicare DME Portals

Each of the DME MACs have created webpages that offer podiatrists and other DME suppliers access to useful Medicare information.  The “Portals” requires individual registration and uses a personal log-in.  They offer different levels of accessibility and also protects patient personal health information.  Presently Jurisdictions A and D are serviced by Noridian; Jurisdictions B and C are serviced by CGS.

Podiatrists are encouraged to register for the Portals corresponding to the region(s) where their patients reside and to also create access for appropriate staff members.  Some of the things that are certain to prove useful include: Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) lookup,  info about the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) for checking status of claims, and redetermination.


Noridian Medicare Portal (NMP)

Jurisdiction A, Jurisdiction D.

CGS Medicare Portal (myCGS)

Jurisdiction B, Jurisdiction C.


Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) Look Up Tool

A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) replaced the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status, and claim status.

In the past, the HICN was based on a person’s social security number.  Every person with Medicare has been assigned an MBI and has been mailed a new Medicare card.  The MBI is confidential like the SSN and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.  The biggest reason for the new MBI is to fight medical identity theft for people with Medicare.

The MBI provides podiatrists and other DME suppliers information need to enter using the telephone key pad when using the IVR and is based only on the information you enter. 

Use this tool to convert the patient’s MBI to the corresponding numbers on your telephone key pad. Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) Lookup Tool is an option for providers/suppliers if they are not able to obtain the MBI from the patient.

Noridian DME: Jurisdiction A, D

CGS: Jurisdiction B, C


Medicare Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires providers to utilize the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System to check the status of claims.  The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system requires you to enter your patient’s name and Medicare number during the beneficiary validation process.   The IVR will validate the beneficiary information.


Noridian: Jurisdictions A, D

CGS: Jurisdictions B, C

To use the IVR, please call: 877.299.7900


Submitting Redeterminations Through the Medicare Portal

When AFO claims are denied and given reason code “M3”, it’s because of “Same or similar”, meaning that Medicare is only covering one device, prefabricated or custom, per side, every five years.  Claims to treat a different diagnosis with a different device, can generally be covered, even after initial denial, if appealed as a “Redetermination”.  Redetermination can be done either by faxing in a form and supporting documentation or via the Portal.  Its recommended that suppliers use the Portal, and not fax, as it provides assurance that all forms are received.  


Noridian: Jurisdictions A, D

CGS: Jurisdictions B, C


Documentation Identification Tool

CGS has created the Documentation Identification Tool to assist you in submitting the different types of documentation needed to support your claim. Simply select the type of documentation you are submitting from our list of items below. Then print the pre-designed divider sheet and place it in front of the document(s) that will be submitted for review.

The documentation identification tool standardizes the process so you no longer need to create your own divider sheets for your documentation.


Jurisdiction A is serviced by Noridian Healthcare Solutions   and includes Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Jurisdiction B is serviced by CGS   and includes Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Jurisdiction C is serviced by CGS   and includes Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and the US Virgin Islands.

Jurisdiction D is serviced by Noridian Healthcare Solutions   and includes Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming,


Medicare DME Reimbursement Increases in 2019

Good news!
On January 1, 2019, Medicare increased the amount it pays for diabetic shoes, Moore Balance Brace and Arizona custom AFOs.

While the amounts paid may vary slightly by state, the National Fee Schedule is as follows:
Depth Shoes (A5500): pair $146.42
Prefabricated, Heat Molded Inserts (A5512): pair $59.72
Custom Milled Inserts (A5514): pair $89.12
Depth Shoes w/3 pr. Prefab, Heat Molded Inserts: $325.36
Depth Shoes w/3 pr. Custom Molded Inserts: $413.78
Custom Molded Shoes w/offset heels and rocker bottoms: $656.62
Arizona AFO, Standard (L1940, L2330, L2820): each – Ceiling $1178.61, Floor $904.29
Moore Balance Brace (L1940, L2330, L2820): pair – Ceiling $2357.22, Floor $1808.58

For a complete listing of updated DME allowables, including prefabricated and custom ankle-foot orthoses, visit:

AFO Custom Diabetic Insert Alert


Medicare is now differentiating between custom diabetic inserts fabricated by direct milling and those made by custom molding. Medicare requires that custom diabetic inserts made by CAD / CAM direct milling be billed using new code A5514 when dispensed, replacing K0903, effective January 1, 2019. Inserts provided by SafeStep are made in this way. If SafeStep does your billing, everything will be taken care of for you. If you submit claims yourself or via a billing service, be sure to start using the new custom insert code, A5514.

Both methods of manufacturing result in equivalent final products; reimbursement is also the same, $89.12 per pair, $267.36 for three pairs. Medicare is requiring manufacturers to submit custom diabetic inserts to PDAC for verification and has communicated that custom inserts need not be listed on the PDAC website,

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please call our office at 866.712.STEP.



The DME MACs have recently begun strictly enforcing a long-existing policy, “Same or Similar.” This situation has resulted in suppliers more frequently receiving denials for DME, indicated on EOBs with reason code “M3.”

Medicare dictates that AFOs can be dispensed only once, per side, every five years. The “Same or Similar” policy states that a beneficiary cannot get another AFO device for the same limb within this period unless the AFO is lost, stolen, or irreparably damaged or the patient has a new diagnosis, resulting in the need for a new type of device.

AFOs considered to be within the same or similar category include both custom fabricated and off-the-shelf including:

L1900, L 1902, L1904, L1906, L1907, L1910, L1920, L1930, L1932, L1940, L1945, L1950, L1951, L1960, L1970, L1971, L1980, L1990, L2000, L2005, L2010, L2020, L2030, L2034, L2035, L2036, L2037, L2038, L2106, L2108, L2112, L2114, L2116, L 2126, L2128, L2132, L2134, L2136, L4350, L4360, L4361, L4370, L4386, L4387, L4396, L4397, L4398, L4631.

For example, a patient receiving a CAM Boot (L4386) in 2017 for a stress fracture on the left foot would likely be rejected for a Custom Fabricated Hinged AFO (L1970) should he or she require one for Posterior Tibial Tendinosis of the left foot in 2019.

Details of the policy can be found at

The rule is not provider-specific, meaning that if a patient received an AFO from another provider or supplier within the past five years that was billed to Medicare, the claim for a “same or similar” device may be denied.

What to do about it

Providers can easily discover whether their patient has received a device within the past five years by enrolling in their respective DME MAC Jurisdiction’s Provider Portal. Information on enrolling in the provider portals is available on each DME MAC Homepage.

APMA urges its members not to use the NMBI (National Medicare Beneficiary Identifier) and to continue to use the patient’s Social Security-linked number as there are cases in which the provider portal either will not recognize the NMBI or cannot properly perform a “Same or Similar” inquiry. This issue has been brought to the attention of CMS contractors. Once this issue is resolved, APMA will notify our members.

Once enrolled in a DME MAC carrier’s portal, it will take a minute or less to determine what, if any, devices your patient has received in the last five years. The provider portal will provide you with information regarding the date, HCPCS codes, and name of the supplier who provided the previous device.

The Noridian Provider Portal will only provide “Same or Similar” information regarding services provided in Regions A and D, while MyCGS will only provide “Same or Similar” Information for services provided in Regions B and C.

APMA suggests that providers confirm their patient’s legal address history. This information will minimize any possibility that services were provided previously in a different DME MAC Jurisdiction.

APMA urges members to save any information received on the provider portal. Be sure your chart documentation includes the above information and, if dispensing another AFO for the same side within five years, the fact that a new device is required for one of the several reasons stipulated in the LCD. These reasons include, but are not limited to: The device was lost, stolen, irreparably damaged (due to a one-time event); a different diagnosis; change in anatomy (e.g., amputation, significant weight loss or gain) resulting in the previous device being unusable by the patient; or a different physiologic need (e.g., previous device was for a non-weight-bearing situation and the new device is for a weight-bearing situation).

Suppliers may still initially receive a “Same or Similar” rejection. However, a properly documented progress note including the above information may be used to successfully appeal (Redetermination) a “Same or Similar” rejection.

Providers may obtain the redetermination form from their DME MAC Website and/or provider portal. Once this form is downloaded and completed, you may scan the form (or complete and save it online) and then upload the form and other pertinent information, including response letter and your chart documentation, directly onto the DME MAC provider portal.

By using the provider portal, you may avoid fax transmission errors and be instantly assured that the information submitted has been received by the DME MAC. You may also follow the appeals process via the provider portal and read any comments made by the nurse reviewer. While a redetermination must be completed within a 90-day period (once received by the carrier), it will typically take only 30 days using the provider portal.

Providers may wish to obtain a properly executed ABN, should your search of the provider portal result in a potential “Same or Similar” scenario. A properly executed ABN should be specific as to why your services (new device) may not be covered. Information to include in the ABN should include the name of the device dispensed, date of service, name of supplier, and that any new device may result in a “Same or Similar” rejection.

Recent communication between APMA and the DME MAC Medical Directors seems to indicate that the DME MACs are interested in developing new edits to substantially reduce the number of “Same or Similar” rejections.

This situation is fluid, and APMA urges members to monitor for future developments.


SafeStep representatives can help you:

  • Register for Medicare portal
  • Easily check patient eligibility prior to prescribing AFOs
  • Submit claims for redetermination (appeal) either via Medicare carrier website or via fax.

Contact us at or 866.712.STEP

See more about this here:


Failure to submit Medicare MIPS quality measures will cost physicians tens of thousands of dollars. In 2018, podiatrists have to submit quality measures all year and not for just a 3-month window, like in 2017. Also, the penalty for not submitting increased to 5% of Medicare payments. However, podiatrists should appreciate that performing MIPS measures may also allow billing for office visits and will increase awareness of when balance AFOs, payable by Medicare, should be prescribed.


MIPS quality measures 154, falls risk assessment and 155, falls, plan of care, address falls being the leading cause of injuries for older adults. One in four Americans aged 65 and over falls each year. By identifying people with gait instability, podiatrists can reduce this risk and make fall prevention a valuable part of their practice.

Physicians should annually, ask every patient, 65 and over, whether they have fallen in the past year. If so, they should follow-up by asking how many times and if the patient suffered an injury. Patients who have fallen two or more times or once with injury are defined to be at high risk.

These patients should be evaluated using a fall risk assessment form available from SafeStep.
Gait, strength and balance are assessed by having patients perform a “Timed Up and Go Test”. Patients stand, walk 10 feet, turn around and sit down. If TUG takes more than 12 seconds, there’s a good chance such conditions as: muscle weakness, difficulty walking or unsteadiness on feet are present.

MIPS 154 also requires assessing another contributing factor to falling including:
• a review of medications, or
• asking if the patient has had an eye exam in the past year, or
• reviewing other possibly contributing medical conditions, or
• determining the presence of postural hypotension.

Patients should be provided with a Plan of Care that includes balance, strength and gait training instructions, advice about vitamin D and information about home fall hazards. To make it easy, when using the assessment form available from SafeStep, simply tear off and give the patient a sheet that’s part of it.

When patients have NOT fallen two or more times or once with injury, submit MIPS quality measure 154 using CPT code 1101F.

If patients at high risk for falls are evaluated and provided a plan of care, consider billing E&M code 99213. Also submit codes 3288F and 1100F for MIPS 154 and 0518F for MIPS 155.
When there is fall risk, based on gait assessment, consider prescriptions for balance footwear, foot orthotics and possibly balance AFOs.

SafeStep has available, for free, copies of a Fall Risk Assessment form that assists in satisfying the MIPS fall prevention requirements. Medicare compliance documentation for AFOs can be best assured by using SafeStep’s WorryFree DME program.