Warning: This is a bit of a soapbox, a somewhat volatile issue, and there are political elements to it. If you aren't interested in the mano-a-mano that is inevitable with discussions like this, you're probably better off moving on.
I saw the ad again this morning by Walmart for their Relion BG meter and strips. $9 for 50 strips.
Freestyle strips are $77/50 at Walmart. 11x the Relion strips.
If Relion strips are as accurate and reliable as any of the others, what business do we, the insurance customers, have demanding anything more expensive than Relion?
That right there is the main reason for outrageous health care costs -- we, the consumers, do not make much of an effort at all to "shop". Indeed, when we hear that an insurer is going to drop covering a particular test strip and system, many PWDs go postal.
This is the way it is when someone else is paying for your stuff. Yeah, I'd be quite satisfied with hamburger 'cause it's good, tasty, reasonably nutritious, and that's what I can afford, but if someone else is willing to buy me Filet Mignon if I scream loud enough, why not?
I'm going to check out the Relion strips, both in terms of online research, and giving them a go myself and checking side-by-side with my Freestyle strips.
If there is no meaningful difference, I can't in good conscience demand that you and everyone else subsidize my "need" for something I don't really need, but just want. If all goes well, I plan to have my Endo change my prescription to Relion.
This same selfishness plays out over and over and over in health care. A great deal is wasted that wouldn't be if people had to make actual spending priority decisions. I'm not talking about choosing whether to eat or pay for one's life-saving drugs: I'm talking about things like this test strip issue.
If I had to pay OOP for test strips, there's no question I'd be using Relion, assuming they're as good enough as the expensive ones. Only having to pay my $35 copay to get 150 Freestyle strips, well, I've been doing that for years and years, letting all of you (and everyone else) cover the $196 each month, for a whopping $2,352/yr of complete $$ waste.
Money that could have bought over 13,000 Relion strips for other diabetics, for example.