I’m an American and I just started using the DexCom CGM last September. Prior to 2009 not many health insurance policies covered CGMs. In late 2008 the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) released results of the efficacy of CGMs in reducing A1c numbers while also reducing the incidence of severe hypoglycemic events. You can look at a good summary of these studies here.
The JDRF studied the effects of clinical CGM useage with the plan to get more insurance coverage in the U.S. They are doing this as part of the larger effort to produce an “artificial pancreas,” that is the combination of an insulin pump, a CGM, and smart software that can automatically respond to changes in blood glucose.
As a result of the publication of these JDRF studies, many insurance companies started to cover CGMs, including my insurance carrier.
I just received a three month supply of sensors so I have the cost number in front of me. DexCom shows a list price of four sensors at $399 U.S. dollar (USD). It adjusts the price downward for the insurance company to $279.30 USD. That comes out to about $70 USD per sensor. I pay out of my pocket 20% of that price, or about $14. Since I usually can get about 14 days per sensor, the cost to me comes down to $1 USD per day – a very good value for me.
The sensor expense is the main cost but one also has to purchase the one time initial package that includes the receiver. I don’t remember the exact cost to get started but I think it was around $1000 USD. My insurance paid 100% of the cost since I exceeded my maximum annual out-of-pocket expense (known a major-medical coverage) in 2009.
I would not have started on the CGM if I had to pay for it by myself. I’m really glad that I can use it since it has been one of the most effective diabetic therapies I have experienced. My A1c has dropped by about 1% since last September. Anyone who has struggled to lower their A1c can attest to the great effort required. With the CGM it was relatively easy for me.
I would think that with documented positive clinical results of CGMs, people in countries like Australia and Canada should start to receive the benefits of this technology. I makes simple economic sense. No matter what health care system is in place, preventing or delaying diabetic complications will save heaps of money in the long run.
CGMs are “game changers,” keep your eye on them.