Ain’t no way I can defend this companies position, but I have been fighting my doctor for six months about it, and have seen and understood his side of it, even if I totally disagree with it.
The problem is first off, as is obvious, greed. However, somewhere in the mix, is the fact that they people who set the policy are not diabetics, and they get their information from places like the ADA, which are not very much on the side of the diabetic community in many ways.
Simply put, from the ‘outside’ looking in, test strips are used to find out your BG levels, so you can adjust them with insulin. That is what they were invented for, and that is what the industry thinks they are used for. To give a non insulin dependent T2 test strips is a waste of money, because when you test, if you are high, or dangerously low, there is no way to adjust for it, so the manufacturers and insurance companies see it as a useless test.
That said, they are morons. What we as the community have to do, is re-educate them as to how the strips are used by T2 and those who do not use insulin. Even my doctor doesn’t get it. We use them differently than they think, and so anger and frustration is a good thing to a point, but education is paramount if we are to turn the thought process around.
My A1c and daily numbers are very tight as are many of us, because we test, test, and test again. I often test before I eat, and find myself a bit higher than I figured, so I have to alter my meal accordingly. That is how I control and “adjust” Same thing happens if I overdo it. I exercise until the numbers come back down. I also learned with testing that mornings are a bad time for carbs, for me. I can eat he Kellogs special K protein cereal, but not in the morning. Its usually lunch or part of dinner. Without strips, I would be eating too many carbs in the morning, and spiking past 140 without knowing it. I didn’t realize how much a simple cold would affect my numbers. The doctor never told me that. I found it out when it happened, and when I asked around. Given the higher numbers for a week or so, I had to back off on some of what I ate, or I would have gone too high, and upset that “magic” A1c.
Until we can rationally explain how much the testing has helped us, nothing will change, so after you vent against the insurance company, remember to provide data and explanations about why you need to be able to use more strips in order to keep tight control. My doctor only wants me to test once a day. When I ask when, he says it doesn’t matter, which shows right off that he is ignorant of how things work.
We are successful in controlling our numbers, because we know what they are, and although we cannot adjust them with insulin, we can adjust them with our exercise, and food choices at the moment. This fact is totally lost on most medical personnel. Valid logic is hard to refute, so just remember to use it calmly after you get your anger off your chest when discussing it with doctors and insurance companies, or else we look like we are just crazy and wasteful to want to test so often. My doctor now allows me four a day, my “insurance” will actually pay for 200 per month, but he won’t permit it, and said that in they summer, when I come around for another round of refills, he will cut it back to once a day, maybe less. I have that long to convince him of the error of his ways.
To change the topic slightly, so long as we are gonna trash the health care system and put in all new regulations and control, I would like to see people with life long diseases such as diabetes, given lifetime prescriptions, so we don’t have to have a doctor on call to do refills, and require us to come and pay a fee to their office, just to justify their existence. Its not like we are gonna get any better. Same thing with the A1c testing. The lab I have to go to won’t give me my number, and my doctor won’t tell it to me, until I pay the cash for an office visit. Something as routine and important as that, should just be, show up, get tested, email me the number, and let’s all move on. Why tie up the medical system with wasted office visits. Again, its because of greed and stupidity, but mixed in there is the simple fact that those in charge, just don’t understand the control of the disease as well as those of us who live it daily.