Livongo

I got a letter from my insurance company today saying my freestyle strips would no longer be covered after April 1. I am on the Omnipod pump. Not happy about this!!! The insurance company has a program called Livongo and will provide you with a meter and all the free strips you need. They provide support if your blood sugars are out of range. Or so this is what the information says they have sent me. Has anyone used this program?? If so I would love more info. I’m just a little nervous they can keep track from this meter of my sugars. Not keen on insurance companies having this info!! Thanks for any advice.

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@askmanny is the man you want to talk to. He works at Livongo.

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Hey Tonya!

I have actually used the Livongo system when it first came out (I got a trial meter to give it a test-drive). I know that @Mila used the meter with her son too…so I’d be curious to see if she has anything to add to this thread.

I enjoyed the actual interface of the meter. It’s bright and vibrant. The strips are sturdy and the HARDWARE was good. I am in love with the idea of strips as a subscription. I really hate counting strips and “budgeting” for when my prescription could be refilled. It takes that

I personally didn’t find the coaching to be particularly useful…all of it was reactive. A nurse would text message me when I was high or low, but during those times the last thing I needed was what felt like someone nagging me.

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Hey Mike - hope things are well.

Uggghh I would hate having a nurse text me when I was high or low. I don’t know much about Livongo. Is that one of their selling points?

The texting and calling is what I do not want. I don’t need someone telling me my sugar is high or low, I’ve dealt with this for 35 years. Is there a way you can use the meter and strips but not have them contact you?

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The CDE support is good, although I think this is more useful for t2’s. We have been using Livongo now for over a year, the features I like:

Automatic Cloud storage
Text messages for high or low bg’s (as a parent it’s helpful so that you can follow up with your kid)
App, easy to see all the data
Strips Refill, super easy

Not a big fan:
Size

Yes, you have the option to not to be contacted.

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It is a selling point. And I think for old-pros, it sounds DREADFUL…but they aren’t judgemental or anything. It’s more like, “Hey, I noticed your BG is out of range. Anything I can help with?”

You do have the ability to turn the messaging off. I would guess there is some info in the small print about what is shared with your medical team and insurance company. I’m guessing it’s not everything, but I don’t actually know.

I’ve been using Livongo for some time now, paying out of pocket for it. For the most part, I’ve been happy with it. I’ve allowed calls from their “coaches” but only for extreme lows, which I do not have frequently. They have slowly improved on the reporting capabilities on their app and web interface. They are quite quick to send new strips - in fact, the meter itself asks if you want to order strips when your presumed supply is running lower than a certain threshold.
With insurance coverage, it’s probably not a bad thing for you, really.

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Hello @Tonya2: as folks here mentioned, I work at Livongo. I have been there since May 2015, which was when I left the Diabetes Hands Foundation (now wearing a board member hat)… anyway.

I too have been a Livongo user for 2+ years now: the program is meant to empower the member (that’s what we call our users) to live a better life with diabetes. Nowadays (like it was mentioned below), you can set yiur own thresholds for coach (CDE) calls, or disable them entirely if you so wish. And you also have access to the CDE at no extra cost in a scheduled fashion, to discuss any challenges or questions you may have about diabetes. I realize that many of us with T1D feel very strongly about our ability to handle things outselves, but I’ve also heard from just as many that they find the scheduled and the alert modes to be a blessing.

I am happy to answer any additional questions you may have, either here (where others have been great at addressing them), or via email if yiu prefer: manny@livongo.com.

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Thanks @askmanny and everyone else for the info. Who all has access to your results? What do they do with info? I guess I’m just not too comfortable with feeling like I’m being spied on and someone knowing every time I check and my results.

For the purposes of supporting member needs (alert calls and scheduled coaching sessions), our CDEs have access to your data. Outside of Livongo, we do not share identifiable personal health information with health plans or employers, only aggregated numbers for large numbers of members (for reporting purposes), which effectively render individual data invisible to them.

You can opt for sharing your BG values and your health summary report with whomever YOU want, but that is entirely up to you.

Hey Tonya - this happened to me years ago and now again as a result of a new job/new insurance company. In both instances I was successful in using the Omnipod argument as part of a “medical necessity” letter from my Dr. You might want to give that a try too before being forced to cary yet another device.

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Thanks @Christopher5 I see my endo today, so will see what he thinks.

I’ve been using Livongo since November. It’s free through my employer, so I use it. I hate it. It measures about 20 points low usually - not always!! - compared to two other meters that I use occasionally and to double check numbers I don’t trust. The other day it said I was 40 (40!!) and I was mid 60’s on both other meters. I am not looking forward to my next A1C - I bet it’s much higher.

The other problem I have is you can only have one meter unless you pay $200 out of pocket for a second one. I have meters and strips all over - in my bedroom, purse, workout bag. So I have to use two different meters because having one just doesn’t work for me.

It is VERY heavy. If you carry it around, it’s at least twice the weight of an iPhone and almost the same size.

When I travel out of the country, it won’t upload. I don’t know how many readings it will save to upload when we get home.

Your insurance co does not have your readings, only Livongo does. They claim they don’t keep them under your name but keep them for research. You can change the settings so they will call or not when very low or very high. I have them turned off because I figure if I’m OK to test, I’m OK to treat.

It’s saving me a significant amount of money. If it was more accurate I wouldn’t hate it so much. Maybe I should contact them and tell them how bad it is. Maybe I just have a bad one.

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My employer now offers this too. At first I thought it would great to have another meter. We have used it only a couple of times, it is quite clunky and as you stated 20 points off. Plus it seems like we have to squeeze out a gallon of blood for it to even get a reading. It’s garbage so I called them and told them “no thanks”, nice concept and all but until they fix the amount of blood needed we will not be using it. We have never gotten a reading out of one strip. Maybe 3 tries to get something.

Mainly we use the G6 but for finger checks we just use the Omnipod and the Freestyle strips work best. Insurance said they did not cover them and our doctor called them and said they were medically necessary so that took care of that.