Purchasing Dexcom transmitter and sensors out of pocket

For those that do not have insurance covering CGMS and paying out of pocket for your dexcom supplies, I’m wondering whether you buy them on a subscription plan or on a as needed basis. I’m considering continuing on the CGMS but the cost is quite substantial and want to see what is the best way to go about it.

I have an option of taking a 12 month subscription. Which basically means, you get a box of 3 sensors every 30 days with the transmitter every 90 days. On this plan, you only pay for the sensors and the saving is you get the supply of the transmitters for free. Transmitters are ~USD$284 so saves ~$USD1136.

I’m assuming you have the same subscription model in your part of the world. If so, do you join this subscription or buy your equipment as needed (given that the sensor can be restarted at least once).

I’ve also hear of people getting their transmitter battery replaced for significantly lower cost than buying a new one - I don’t know too much about this so not sure whether this is common practice. Also not too sure about accuracy of the transmitter.

Would love to hear how you go about this.

I pay cash for my supplies. I would never do the subscription thing! Since the sensors can be restarted, I can usually get a full month’s wear from a single one. You won’t be able to get that sort of life at first, those post-meal highs you’ve talked about will shorten the life of the sensor. But once you use the CGM data to learn to better keep your data flat, you’ll probably be able to wear your sensor for MUCH longer than 10 days.

You would literally be throwing money away to do the subscription plan.

I honestly don’t know what pharmacies are like in Australia, but in the US, you seldom HAVE to pay retail price for pharmacy items if you’re a savvy shopper. We have membership wholesale clubs, like Sam’s Club, Costco, BJ’s, etc… Where you pay a premium for the right to stop there, but you can get bulk items at big discounts, and often other perks like big Pharmacy discounts. That’s how I get my supplies. It costs $100US fit my membership, but I save more than that on a single Dexcom refill. And honestly, we would have bought that membership anyway, even without using the prescription benefit. I can keep my total monthly cost to around that same $100US.

We also have pharmacy discount programs. They work sort of like a secondary form of insurance, basically giving you a better “copay” than the retail price, but they don’t cost anything. My state has one available for everyone in Colorado. Certain stores offer them to be used at their own pharmacies. There are generic ones we can find online, too. I’ve tried them, but I get a better price at that wholesale club I mentioned earlier.

Unfortunately, only the earliest versions of the G6 transmitter could have the battery changed and the internal clock reset. The hackers who make most of this possible for us haven’t cracked the new transmitter firmware. If your transmitter starts with an 8 followed by a letter (8G, 8H, 8J, etc…), you won’t able to use the transmitter beyond 110 days, or when the original battery dies, whichever comes first. If you get less than 90 days life, though, Dexcom will send you a free replacement.

The warranty replacements is another reason not to subscribe. Even if you wear a sensor for a week or so, but it stops working before 10 days, you get free replacements. Those few days off life you got out of a sensor or transmitter start to add up after a few months of use and you wind up with entirely free sessions.

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We have costco but this is not as big as the USA and it doesn’t sell medication. As far as I know, dexcom G6 is only available through tandem. Not even in through pharmacies at this point in time. So in a sense it’s a monopoly at the moment so in terms of price, there is no movement. Hence why I’m thinking of a subscription model. Some people have reported being about to buy the G5 and G5 sensors at the pharmacy at a lower price - but this is not available for the G6 yet because it just came out in australia.

A box of 3 sensors is AUD$330 (~USD$234). Assuming i can get at least 20days of each sensor (which I don’t even know is possible since I haven’t restarted one yet :sweat_smile:), I need to get 18 sensors to last 12 months. Then add on 4 transmitters (assuming the failure rate is low and there is no replacement).

So the cost would be:

18 sensors = AUD$1980 (~USD$1404)
4 transmitters = AUD$1600 (~USD$1136)
Total = AUD $3580 (USD$2540)

A subscription of 36 sensors and 4 transmitters will cost me AUD$3960 (~USD$2809). Which isn’t too far off. :thinking: The only thing that can change this savings gap if when the G6 becomes available at pharmacies at a lower cost in the future, making it more economical to not take up a subscription. It is probable this will eventually happen (judging by the availability of the G5) but no idea when and how much. Does anyone here from Australia know or know where to source these more cheaply?

Is it strange asking them to replace a sensor that has worked the majority of the time but fell a bit short of 10 days?

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Oh man, I was seething with jealousy when I saw how much less you pay for sensors… Until I noticed you pay a lot more for transmitters. I guess it all evens out in the end.

I can pretty much garaunteed that you won’t get wonderfully long sensor life for the first few sensors, but the life will get better as you learn to adjust your habits and settings based off of the data you see. Smoothing out those meal spikes makes a huge difference. Unfortunately, there are some people who’ve never been able to successfully extend. You won’t know how long you can get until you try.

Perhaps find out the terms of the subscription service? If I could cancel after six months, after stockpiling supplies, and still get the free transmitters… That might be worthwhile. I wouldn’t want to be locked into a whole year at that price, though.

Definitely not! They’re warrantied to last 10 full days. I suppose I could technically call in every end-of-life sensor as failed, but I try not to abuse the system more than I already am. I had an entire lot of sensors fail at 8-9days. I’m guessing they were trying to see how little reagent they could get away with, or something. I was actually giddy to call them in, because I’m allergic to the adhesive and got to take them off early.
Tandem happily replaced each and every single one.

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Also don’t forget how low our Australian dollar is compared to USD. 1 AUD = 0.71 USD !!! A few years ago it was 1 AUD = 1 USD. Everything in Australia is super cheap for folks in USA after conversion. :sweat_smile:

How much are your sensors and transmitters normally? And also how much are they with the discounts you are getting through being a savvy shopper?

Yeah, it will be interesting when I try my first restart next week and see how long it lasts. And also hoping that dexcom isn’t able to shut down being about the restart future sensors also.

Thats good to know they will honour it. I think of warranty like insurance companies. They try to find every reason to decline your claim if you know what I mean. And then blacklist you so that when your insurance premium comes up for renewal, they add a premium to it!

Honestly, that’s hard to say, since our insurance system is so screwed up they inflate the retail prices and add massive discounts to the insurance companies later. I’ve had to call each and every single pharmacy within a 3-hour drive.
(I live rural, so that 3-hour drive is not that unusual to get to the nearest major city.)
Supposedlyy, a 3-pack of sensors retails at $350US, but I’ve never seen that. They generally retail for $400-420US, and then the pharmacy tries to sell you their subscription savings plan, which will drop the price to $360-375US, plus the cost of the savings plan. Sometimes you can get free savings plans, like the one offered by my state. The best I’ve found is at Sam’s Club. You can buy a regular shopping membership there for $50, but for $100 level membership you get major pharmacy discounts plus other perks like free shipping on their discount bulk items. We but that level membership anyway, for the free shipping to our rural address (Saves us that 3-hour drive each way!), so the pharmacy discount on top of that is practically a free perk for me. This particular membership drops the price of 3 sensors down to $284US. A transmitter retails for around $300-400US, but I get them for $125.

There is also always the option to buy supplies black market, as in people selling their extra supplies online, but I’m always afraid to do that. Generally they’re not asking much less than I’m paying at a reputable pharmacy and sometimes they event want more, and you run a big risk of getting scammed.

I’m pretty sure Dexcom is putting all their effort into the G7 now. Which I’m nearly positive won’t have any restart capability. It’s going to be very similar to the Freestyle Libre sensors with the permanently attached and disposable transmitter. And nobody has been able to restart the Libres, to my knowledge. I highly doubt they’ll go out of their way to circumvent G6 users anymore at this point in time.

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people in Europe can restart the 1st libre, but the max they get is usually an extra 14 days, usually an extra 10 or 12, the batteries are tiny and it doesn’t really seem worth it, since it might expire early, which means you’d have to have an extra sensor on you, or at least at your work or car. for Tedos, have you thought about the libre2? you should be able to patch it since you guys are part of the European Union… we are u able to in the u.s.

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honestly I haven’t though about this one but the last time I looked at it I didn’t think it would be comparable in terms of usefulness with CGMS and the cost is was about $100 AUD per sensor lasting 14 days. A CGMS sensor is $110 AUD lasting 10 days but of course there is also the transmitter cost on top which is about $45 for 10 days. On the surface of things without really investigating much on the libre, I think I rather pay a bit more for CGMS as it seems to be more value add.