Medicare B, G6 and BGM with Test Strips

T1 since 1992. Until August of 2019 I would test with BGM about 8 times a day and use injections. Then I went on G6 and Tandem X2. When the G6 seems wonky, I would test with BGM to verify. About a week ago, the G6 read LOW with 40. I didn’t feel it, so I went to test and found my meter had died. Changed battery, but that wasn’t it. The meter was probably about 8 years old.

I had my endo prescribe a new meter for me at Walgreen’s where I had been getting all my test strips previously. When I went to pick up, the pharmacist told me that Medicare would not cover it as DME because I was on the G6 CGM. What??? I wouldn’t mind if the G6 were accurate, but that has not been my experience.

Has anyone else had problems with Medicare paying for both?

They will not pay if you have a Libre

The Contour Next One Meter is currently the most accurate meter on the market and it is $6.78 delivered from Amazon. I ordered a few of these some weeks ago to have a spare in the car, office and home. My order included the meter, lancing device, pouch and 10 test strips. Is it really worth arguing over such a paltry sum? It would cost me a lot more than that just to drive to pharmacy to pick it up, even if it was free at pharmacy, or covered by insurance.

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My BC/BS/Anthem just decided they’re not paying for Libre also. I have to move to DexCom. Ceiling Cat help me…

Medicare won’t pay for test strips and CGMS. So Medicare has long claimed “CGMS” to be “investigational.” When the DexCom G6 came out with their “no calibration needed” Medicare “all of a sudden” decided that DexCom G6 is not investigational but is therapeutic. Guess who is not considered to be “therapeutic” by Medicare, Medtronic MiniMed CGMS. Guess who also still requires fingersticks to calibrate the sensor. (Medtronic). Ironically, guess who has been told by the courts that, based on how they define their “therapeutic” CGMS, that Medtronic is a “therapeutic” CGMS. (Medicare) Guess who is ignoring the courts and still will not consider Medtronic “therapeutic”. (Medicare) Guess who is working on coming out with a sensor that doesn’t need calibration. (Medtronic) Guess who is considering making Medtronic a “therapeutic” sensor. (Medicare) Guess why it hasn’t happened yet. (Don’t have the no calibration needed approval yet).

When it comes to diabetic glucose monitoring supplies Medicare is HORRIBLE. They have such a choke hold on it. Just because you don’t REQUIRED to calibrate every day doesn’t mean that you will never again need test strips. People still use a few here and there for various reasons.

I knew a gentleman who got a DexCom and didn’t like it. He tried to go back to test strips. They wouldn’t fill it because he had a DexCom. He explained that he didn’t like it and wanted to switch back. Medicare finally told him that he had to send it back and get a return receipt of delivery. The DME group wouldn’t take it back because Medicare wouldn’t allow it after a certain amount of time had passed. Round and round and round.

Medicare will not cover test strips for the G6. Many of us have been fighting this battle ever since the G6 came out, so don’t beat your head against the wall. Medicare will not pay for test strips if you are on the G6. The best you can do is go to Walgreens or order strips online. I have a few Contour Next One meters (most of which I purchased myself), and the strips are far less expensive than Abbot strips or strips for most other popular meters. I find the Contour Next One to be a good meter. I use the G6 readings most of the time, using only a blood test when 1)the G6 reading seems really wonky, or 2) when the G6 is going through a warm-up period and I want to eat something. Otherwise, I trust the G6. I usually start the day with a blood test just to check that the G6 is still “within range” with my blood. At most, I have been using two sticks a day. That much I can afford. What choice do we have? Don’t try to fight Medicare. They make no sense and have no idea what it is like to be diabetic. Just let it go, try to trust the G6, and test when you have to to keep on track. Life is too short to fight battles you cannot win.