Background: To determine if Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is protective against giant cell arteritis (GCA) and to estimate the incidence of GCA diagnosis from Medicare claims. Methods: Medicare 5% claims files from 1991 to 2011 were used to identify beneficiaries diagnosed with DM, but not GCA, within a 3-year ascertainment period. Propensity score matching was used to define a control group of nondiabetics with comparable demographic covariates. Competing risk regression was then used to assess the impact of DM diagnosis on GCA diagnosis. To allow for a 3-year ascertainment period, the analysis sample was limited to beneficiaries older than 68 years at baseline. Results: A total of 151,041 beneficiaries diagnosed with DM were matched to an equal number of controls. Mean study follow-up was 67.75 months. GCA was diagnosed among 1116 beneficiaries with DM (0.73%) vs 465 (0.30%) controls. The risk of receiving a GCA diagnosis among patients with DM was increased by 100% (subhazard ratio, 2.00; 95% confidence interval, 1.78-2.25). The annual incidence of GCA diagnosis among claims for US Medicare beneficiaries older than 68 years old was 93 in 100,000. Conclusions: A DM diagnosis is not protective against a GCA diagnosis in the Medicare population. Our data suggest that a DM diagnosis increases the risk of GCA diagnosis within 5.7 years for Medicare beneficiaries older than 68 years.