Costco and dexcom


#22

The receiver/transmitter are presumably being sold at cost by Dexcom; they’re making their money on the sensors. To quote the fudiabetes article, the full link is:

I paid $41.66 for 2 transmitters at Costco, VS $475 directly from Dexcom.
I was quoted $36 for a receiver VS $365 that I paid directly to Dexcom.
There seems to be small variations in price from store to store.

The discount is ONLY on G6 transmitters & receivers, although they
give modest discounts on other parts as well. I was quoted $277 for a box
of 3 sensors.

It’s like the cost of inkjet printers (dirt cheap) vs inkjet ink (fantastically expensive). But here’s the full cost comparison, CostCo vs Dexcom (from the article) vs EdgePark (from my bill):

Item CostCo Dexcom EdgePark Markup
G6 Receiver $36.00 $365.00 $1,239.40 34.4
G6 Transmitter $20.83 $237.50 $1,200.00 57.6
G6 Sensor (1) $92.33 unknown $332.50 3.6

The ‘markup’ column is EdgePark/CostCo.

The last line is for an individual sensor (10 days). Does anyone know the price Dexcom charges for a sensor (or pack) direct? When I talked to them they refused to supply me direct, but I did make the mistake of admitting I have insurance.

Oh, so if we assume a receiver lasts a year then the full year cost (365.25 days) is as follows:

CostCo: $3,493.01
EdgePark: $18,253.84
Mark up: 5.2

John Bowler


#23

I started with the G6 on October 6 and have been using xDrip plus since Nov 7. I ended up restarting my current sensor, which was inserted on Nov 5, 9.3 days ago according to the G5/G6 status page while trying to get xDrip+ working. Regardless xDrip+ knew the original date, so I assume this is available from the transmitter. I saw various complicated stuff about how to do a restart with the Dexcom receiver/app but it was pretty simple with xDrip+ - so simply I did it by accident while trying to fix the bluetooth connection.

I’ll discover later today what happens at 10 days - will the transmitter ‘fail’ the sensor or will it keep going, if it fails can I restart it?

Anyway, it doesn’t much matter to me - I’m consistently hitting my OOPMax on my health plan so in some sense I don’t care about the cost, I just pony up the $7000 premium supplement and they cover everything.

I would have changed my current sensor but it seems to have been working better than it did in the first 5 days. I consistently see good readings (close to my Ascensia Contour Next One fingerstick meter) so long as my bg is in the range 100-200. Above that it reads a bit low (but not as low as my old Abbott FreeStyle meter), below 100 it is high. The latter would be tricky but I am both hypo and hyper aware; I know as soon as my BG hits 80mg/dl or around 250mg/dl.

I’m doing calibrations several times a day; I don’t know the G6 well enough yet to know what it is right and when it might be wrong. xDrip+ auto-calibrates and I have it set to do that, it connects to my Contour Next One (really dorky sound effects) so everything happens automagically.

John Bowler


#24

Pretty sure you want to preemptively restart the sensor before it expires.


#25

Wait… you can use the G5 sensors with the G6 transmitter?


#26

Dexcom receiver, Nope.
And if I said that, or came across that way, my bad. Cause it will not work.
Now, Xdrip will work with with either transmitter without issue.


#27

Gotcha! I thought I misunderstood…


#28

Pretty sure you want to preemptively restart the sensor before it expires.

Yep. Just verified that by experiment at 3:46AM this morning :frowning: when the sensor stopped. I did a restart with the sensor calibration code, the transmitter gave three readings at around 4:20AM (which were correct) then got some kind of ‘failed to start’ message from the transmitter. I went back to sleep (my BG looked pretty good - nice and flat) then put in a new sensor at 8:23AM - another 19 minutes until the transmitter starts sending data.

John Bowler


#29

Reply to my own post; elsewhere:

So the mistake I made was to leave the phone on during the 2-hour “warm up”, or perhaps I should have just used the Dexcom receiver (which I don’t use) and tinfoiled it.


#30

I just looked this up on the Costco website. The Costco Member Prescription Program (CMPP) is for Costco members (and dependents under 18) who have no insurance. It cannot be used by people on Medicaid or Medicare. https://www.costco.com/pharmacy/member-prescription-program-frequently-asked-questions.html

I called my local Costco pharmacy today, and they didn’t know anything about it “at the store level,” so I asked them what level might know about it and was told “online.” If I had not read the information online, I was going to start looking for Costco pharmacies that carry the G6, since mine doesn’t. (Maybe they order it for customers who are eligible.)


#31

At my Costco, they mentioned this as those who don’t ask Costco to cover item with insurance. Simply tell them you are a cash customer. It is how I get Affrezza there, even though I have insurance, but it does not cover it.


#32

So far as I can see if it is a prescription and they fill it (or if no prescription is required, as with Humalin, and they fill it) it’s between us and them what they get paid.

If we try to use insurance they have to do a whole load of paperwork stuff with the insurance and that costs real money and time.

On the other hand the web site says this: “The program CANNOT be used by those who are enrolled in state or federally funded programs such as Medicare or Medicaid.” That is, of course, false; I think they meant may not. It makes it appear that they are receiving some sort of Federal subsidy for this, the web site is not clear however:

“The program is regulated in some states and not in others.”

Again this suggests CostCo receives a subsidy, at least in some states.

This is consistent with what I have seen in the whole US health insurance industry; everything reads like it was written for consumption by a three year old, not an intelligent adult, and, like stuff we present to three year olds, lots of information is omitted. I believe the correct response is, “Why?”


#33

There are substantial penalties the Fed can impose. If a business accepts Medicaid or Medicare business then they are required to follow a number of rules. Failure to abide by those rules opens the business to serious repercussions.


#34

And your point?


#35

My understanding is Costco, like other pharmacies, will get the “rebate”, from Dexcom, which Costco will reduce from the price they charge to customer. Other places keep it, as dexcom intended.


#36

Very amusing


#37

That’s what I assumed. I just applied for the Eli Lilley “Savings Card” [sic], but it turns out it is not a simply manufacturer rebate card, it is, so far as I can deduce, health insurance and therefore regulated. It has the same conditions as CostCo - no government programs.

On the other hand it is only valid for insured patients, according to the card.

I’m going to have to read Kafka; he was an insurance adjuster, maybe he understands this.


#38

Updating my comment about Costco. I went to the Costco pharmacy this afternoon. The employee I talked with told me that I can purchase at the bargain price as long as I’m not on (or eligible for) Medicare. He said all I need to do is bring a prescription and my membership card to the pharmacy. They’ll have to order the transmitter, but it should arrive within a couple days. Thank you, forum, for letting me know about that. That’s saving me a lot of money.

I have another question. If I buy two transmitters at once, will the unused transmitter battery run down while I’m using the other one?


#39

By the way, someone emailed me that you can simply tell Costco you are a cash customer, not trying to cover an item with insurance, and you’ll get the bargain prices.


#40

I was told that by the Costco pharmacy employee.
However, if they ask specifically if you have medicare, may be excluded.


#41

@keepitsteady
Yes. But slowly. Dexcom routinely sends two G5/G6 transmitters in a single order so it is expected that one transmitter is often going to be sitting on a shelf for 3~4 months.