I went to the pharmacy today to pick up a new prescription of glucose strips to last me through the next few months, and I kid you not, based on my 7-10 times of taking blood sugars per day, the bill was over $800! For 3 months! I use OneTouch Ultra strips. I've heard that there are cheaper monitors/strips, like the Walmart brand, anyone have any suggestions? I have an insurance plan which will ultimately reimburse me when I meet my deductible, but $800? This is crazy. Here I think I'm being an extra cautious diabetic, and the system then penalizes me for testing often. Frustrating. Any cheaper monitoring system suggestions would be appreciated.
While I understand that they own the rights to these pieces of plastic, how much do you really think they cost now we're so far down the line from their invention?
They simply do not cost anywhere near that amount, even after costs have been added on for development. It's disgusting.
One lead you might consider is the new USB Minimed meter. They claim the strips shouldn't ever cost you more than 15 dollars per month. I really like the meter and got it thrown in with my new pump, so I'm not sure if it's true or not.
Sounds like your at the mercy of your deductible, huh?
On his last webcast, Dr. Bernstein recommended FreeStyle Freedom Lite as the most accurate meter. Abbott has an offer for a free meter on their site. FreeStyle has a program called Promise. 100 strips is $15 with insurance co-pay. There are also discounts for people who pay out of pocket for strips.
What if you aren't paying out of pocket, you just have a crappy deductible to get out of the way every year before it'll kick in for real?
I use the 50 count $9.00 prime strips from walmart. Personally i find their readings more consitent than one touch meters and I don't have to pay the $60 one touch pure profit mark-up.
I get my strips at American Diabetes Wholesale. I use a WaveSense Presto and buy strips in quantity. My last strips cost me $.34 apiece and I'm satisfied with their accuracy. 4 years ago this was the best price I could find, but the Walmart strips are way cheaper now. I live in the boonies and Walmart is a 45 min. drive, so for now I'm sticking with buying online.
The best deals online are on Ebay, but you have to be careful about the expiration date.
We have a really twisted system. I used to use onetouch blues and 3 boxes of 100 per month has a street price of $350. But that is not the real price, that is the price for scamming people. The fact is, drug and really most fee based health services have mixed prices. And if you walk in poor with no health insurance you are often charged an outrageously marked up price. The absolute worst is hospitals where they keep a secret books for charging these customers. You can read more here.
I know that Dr. B has shifted to the Freestyle, but I actually would support the use of the Relion brand from Walmart. I have only heard good things about the Relion Prime and the strips are only $9/box of 50.
When I get my healthcare bills I am always shocked at the high initial price and the huge discount the insurance company gets. But as you say, Brian, the person with no insurance, who has the least ability to pay, pays the full tab. Don't know what difference the ACA will make after everything shakes out, but I hope it at least deals with this situation which I see as the powerful preying on the weak. Just my 2 cents.
Kudos's to Walmart for addressing this situation, they also have deals on generic drugs.
Here's an article concerning Medicare and it's recent move to have mail order strip providers bid on the price they will charge for strips. Quoting the article "The process has cut prices sharply. Medicare previously paid $77.90 for 100 mail-ordered strips; now it will pay $22.47. That means co-payments plummet, too, from $15.58 to $4.49."
To me this just illustrates how much we diabetics are being gouged by the strip manufactures.
My question would be are you considering trying a different brand of strip in your meter or switching to a different meter? The way your OP is worded it kinda sounds like you want to keep your present meter and just try another brand of strip which I don't think would work. I think you have to match the brand of strips and the meter.
No it doesn't. She clearly says solution in both strips and meter. A 'monitoring solution'.
This post had me rethink my own situation.
My insurance really isn't all that bad, but I was looking at the end of it I pay, and not what the company is asking for the strips to keep the costs so high.
I don't know if you've ever notices the manufacturing quality on one touch really isn't all that great?
They're obviously just spat out of a machine by the thousands. Sometimes the construction of the strip is faulty, and peels up at the edge when you insert it into the machine. Sometimes the channel down the center is misaligned, etc...
These things are 1 dollar+ EACH.
I just cannot believe how expensive one touch are. Even the brand spanking new test strips from medtronic (the countou next) run at less than 1 dollar a strip (out of pocket) and you can see the quality difference is there. They require no number matching, they're metallic and solid and never peel apart, plus they are for a reason. They plug into a new meter that is USB chargable/wirelessly connects with my pump, etc etc. I have reason to use it to ease my life a tiny bit, so the cost is justifiable
But onetouch...There's no reason there that I can see to use them?
If you're going to stick with cheap old fashioned strips with no extra pump based wireless sending, etc, (no other incentive to use them) at least pay what they're worth. Get the walmart brand and meter. It won't help you pay down your deductible but it sounds like not a great deal will in your situation :(
Seems to me that one touch shouldn't be milking that cash cow it's been given any longer. It's pretty distasteful.
You’re correct. When I retread it I saw that she mentioned both. That’s what I get for scanning more than reading.
I didn't like Onetouch. Wasn't particularly reliable or accurate for me, and I tended to waste a lot of test strips with that one, It seemed that they were just better at marketing to new diabetics. It was junk.
I've been getting Advocate Redicode from American Diabetes Wholesale. They have a buy 4 boxes and get one free deal that gives me 250 strips for $46. The Redicode seem very reliable/consistent, but the strips from my current order seem to be off by about 10 (so 72 is actually 82) relative to my other meter (Aviva).
Walmart brand are decent as well.
type1VT, the companies make their money on the strips. Each one costs approx $1. And if you buy the cheaper brands, your results may not be as accurate. You're wise to use at least the OneTouch, since knowing your BG is so vitally important to your health.
In your case, what to do is a no-brainer. Since you have a set deductible of $x per year, you will pay $x no matter what it's on. Using it on test strips has not one iota of difference from using it on insulin or doctor appointments. It all goes towards your deductible. There's no reason to buy cheaper supplies, since you'll still end up paying $x by December 31!
I have the same plan with my insurance. At the beginning of the year when I get hit with these huge expenses for supplies, I think to myself, "Good! The more I pay now, the faster I reach my deductible, and the more months of the year that are free!" So I don't care what supplies and meds cost. I still pay the same amount every year.
You have a point about name brand strips, but I don't think that applies to the OneTouch ultra. I never found them reliable. Ideally, go with the one Dr B is recommending, and if one has to go generic/cheap, there are some decent options. The Walmart strips are decent as well.
The point is when her deductible is unrealistically high, she may as well not try to meet it at all and save it for those life altering leg breaking/head trauma moments that would otherwise cost you 20 grand, but otherwise try to spend as little as possible.
She doesn't actually say what the figure is, but they can be outrageously high and be in place for exactly the reasons I outline above. For emergencies only.
I agree that if it has to be met, it will be met on whatever hits it first and therefore it doesn't matter. But mine is 250 dollars.
If it was in the thousands, I might be wondering if those one touch strips at 90 dollars a box offer any more than the walmart brand. The fact is they don't. I might also be wondering if I want toi pay a company that much regardless if their prices are unrealistically high. They're printing their own money and we're letting them.
Sorry I was MIA, travels this summer have left me less likely to post. Anyway, thank you for all of your suggestions and advice. Jan, I agree with you, I have this high deductible that I will always meet due to my T1D, so why not spend the $$ on test strips. I guess it just frustrates me, my point that after adopting Dr. B's method of testing often, which I think is the only way (other than wearing a CGM I suppose) to really figure out what foods and activities are doing to my blood sugar, and what ultimately could lead to me being healthier and saving the insurance company a lot of money in the end, costs so much. I just had the sticker shock of $800 for testing strips, not like a specific blood chemistry test or a procedure or anything. I have only had diabetes for 3 years, but I am quickly learning how much of a cash cow that the disease is for big pharma. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but let's just say that big pharma is trying to make it more difficult to test often and trying to increase the rates of diabetes so that people must buy all of this ridiculously expensive stuff that is probably dirt cheap to make by disenfranchised laborers overseas. I mean really, $800? Sorry. Venting. With a glass of wine. (Dry, not sweet, of course).
I completely agree about OneTouch being garbage Scott. I too would find that almost 1 out of 5 tests that I attempted to make turned into errors by the machine - supposedly because I didn't add enough blood or the thing just got moody.
My conspiracy theory on this is that the engineers make these things so sensitive that any one minor mistake will put it into an error and waste your strip, making sure you have to buy plenty more. After all, One Touch has been in this game longer than most others, you'd think they'd figure out by now how to make sure that your test goes well no matter what you do :)
My type 1 daughter and I just switched to the Reli-On brand from Walmart. .09/test strip!!! I also just tested the Reli-On meter against the One-Touch, and found no difference between the two! We pay out of pocket for ALL our supplies. We have a 10K deductable.
I am also THRILLED with the Reli-On Humulin Regular insulin which we now use for mealtime bolus instead of Humulog. Her numbers have been incredibly steady since we switched. The Humulog costs me $187/bottle. The Reli-On costs me $25.00/bottle.
This WHOLE THING is a profit scam and will drive us into the poor house! PLEASE do not be afraid to test different strips/meters and also insulin. Remember, your MD works for YOU. If you are not satisfied, FIRE HIM/HER!! We did just that shortly after my daughters diagnosis. Now we work with a Naturopath who trained with Dr. Bernstein and our Primary Care Physician. I REFUSE to work with ADA Minions!