Omnipod's Freestyle test strips & Medicare

I was just told that Abbott will no longer allow the Medicare approved supplier to provide the Freestyle test strips; they will only be sold by retail pharmacies. They said this notification only came to them a few days ago. So, now is the only option to use another meter & it's strips (then manually enter the data into the PDM) or pay retail price?

Have you joined the freestyle program?? They help pay the co pay for both insured and uninsured patients to help Drastically reduce the price!! You also receive a free meter once a year with the card! It is a really great program that has helped me tremendously with costs of the freestyle strips! I currently have insurance, but with insurance the strips are 150 dollars a month for 400 and with the program i pay 15 dollars a month! Good luck!!

Who is the supplier?

A number of things are going on, one, of course, is the attempts by CMS to reduce Medicare fraud and part of that is "competitive bidding", which means that if your supplier can't supply at the best price Medicare (the CMS) won't deal with them.

Another is that it seems to be getting increasingly difficult to get FreeStyle test strips (as opposed to FreeStyle Lite); I'm having real problems getting Wal-Mart to supply strips from the acceptable lots (i.e. dated 2015/8 or later). I suspect Abbott really want to discontinue FreeStyle because, I suspect [this really is guess work] that FreeStyle Lite is a lot more profitable (cheaper to manufacture.)

Anyway, the retail price is pretty cheap compared to the sticker price Wal-Mart use; Wal-Mart and Walgreens quote the price in the US at about $77/50, but Amazon sell the same strips in the UK for GBP23.20; $36.28. They're all making a profit.

So I think we have to hold our breath, join the freestyle program as diabeticdoll suggests and skip the stupid co-pay. This is going to get sorted out in a year or two because the fans are spinning faster and the brown stuff is rising.

John Bowler

The supplier is Medcare, one of the few Medicare approved suppliers who were carrying the Freestyle. Since I test 8-10 times/day I may just have to use another meter. I'll double check with the Promise program too. Thanks for your feedback.

This page gives helpful advice:

The web page seems to cover all the possibilities.

You can go to a local pharmacy if you want; they can order supplies direct, the issue is getting the 2015/08+ strips, however that might be the quickest solution all the same.

You can find suppliers by following the link for test strips, the page is here:

My zip code is in competitive bidding for diabetic supplies and the search lists 23 different mail order providers, none of which are within 1000 miles of my zip code but never mind. Of those med-care are the only one who supplies Abbott stuff, but that list doesn't include Promise.

If Med-care have dropped Abbott then, at least where I live, there is no way to get the test strips mail-order; the only way is to get them from a local store.

Probably the second easiest approach is to contact the CMS medicare service center:

•Medicare Service Center: 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227)

and explain the situation, since so far as I can see the web site doesn't give a list of local stores that are enrolled and so can supply the supplies you need.

John Bowler

Thank you for your ideas. I just read the fine print on the back of the Promise program card & it states that assistance is not available for Rx reimbursed under Medicare. I had been using this program until my insurance changed-it was helpful.

I checked out all the info/links you provided; thank you for all that research & info! I THINK I can use a retail pharmacy that accepts Medicare assignment & Medicare will pay 80% & then, after deductibles, my supplement will pay the 20%. Until my Rx is transferred & the claim is actually run nothing is certain.
I had some hilarious conversations with some of the people I called-who kept saying, "We don't know. You need to call so & so." Then, of course, so & so would say the same thing. Around & around I went. A lot of Larry, Moe, & Curly moments.
Anyway, thanks again for your feedback to my questions.