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18 Responses

  1. Betty
    Betty August 8, 2012 at 5:04 am | | Reply

    I actually found it really interesting on what the insurance would cover. When they gave my husband 100 test strips for a month I did the math and just shook my head. If he’s lucky he tested 4 times a day, each meal and bedtime. So, a minimum of 120 test strips a month. If he went to a hypoglycemic moment then you can add at least 2-5 more, depending on how low and how quickly it responded. We actually got a CGM, but still check 3 times a day to calibrate and if he gets a low (which does still happen, just not nearly as much), and the low doesn’t seem to be giving up (or the meter says he’s REALLY low), we have to add more to it.

    Fortunately we found that Walmart has their Reli-On meter for 9.00 and 50 test strips for 30.00, which is lowest I’ve ever seen test strips go for. Still more than if he was paying the insurance copay, but unfortunately what the insurance approves doesn’t always fit a normal diabetics lifestyle.

  2. Pauline
    Pauline August 8, 2012 at 7:48 am | | Reply

    Thank you! I’m a T2 wondering why bother testing. It shows the dawn effect, whoopee, so I seldom test. Now this makes sense! I’ll try it.

  3. Mary Dexter
    Mary Dexter August 8, 2012 at 8:28 am | | Reply

    The cost of test strips is still lower than the bill the insurance company would get for ambulance rides, ER visits, hospital stays, amputations, dialysis, etc. Thankfully, my husband’s prescription insurance gets this. When the media prints scare stories about diabetes bankrupting nations, they never explain that most of the money is to pay for the horrible things that go wrong, not for test strips, insulin or Metformin, and education.

    1. Joan
      Joan August 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm | | Reply

      In my experience, my test strips are the MOST important in controlling my Type 1 diabetes. Too bad they cost so much.

  4. joan
    joan August 8, 2012 at 11:22 am | | Reply

    This is definitely one of my pet peeves. As a Type I of 36 years on a pump with hypo/hyper glycemia unawareness my 150 strips a month is not enough. Luckily my prescription insurance company is ameable to my endo requesting an authorization for additional strips and they have approved an additional 200 striips per month at no cost to me (my 150 are also no cost because I am type 1, type 2s have to pay a copay).

    So I am suggesting those of you who get minimal numbers of strips try seeing if your endo can get you an authorization for more. The number of strips we are allowed, I believe, is decided by someone who not only doesn’t have diabetes but knows nothing about it.

    1. Wil
      Wil August 9, 2012 at 7:11 pm | | Reply

      Joan– the sad truth is that most type 2s have never seen an endo and never will. The vast majority are under the care of PCP docs. There are no where near enough endos in the USA to see all the type 2s. I once saw a stat that it would take 30+ years for all the endos to see every person with diabetes one time if all type 2s saw endos.

  5. marge stromberg
    marge stromberg August 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm | | Reply

    Medicare will pay for more strips if you send in a log for a month to your supplier… they want to substantiate that you really used more.Since I use more than 6 strips a day I’m happy to send the log if it means free strips. Sometimes I have to hassle w/ the supplier to get the full supply however.

    1. cw
      cw August 10, 2012 at 7:09 am | | Reply

      The test strips Medicare will pay for (above the minimum when I provide extensive documentation from my endo) are NOT “free strips”.

      I pay a monthly Medicare premium, the yearly deductible and a supplemental insurance premium which covers the 20% that Medicare does not cover. If I didn’t pay for the supplemental, I couldn’t afford to pay for the insulin, let alone the strips or the pump supplies. Or the required endo visits at least once every 90 days.

  6. Sysy
    Sysy August 9, 2012 at 5:49 am | | Reply

    Wow, I’ve never heard of this. I pay out of pocket for test strips all the time because they are so important. But it sucks because I could have taken my kids to Disney with that money by now.

  7. Barbara
    Barbara August 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm | | Reply

    The issue isn’t how to manage with X number of strips. The issue is that in the USA we have Wall Street deciding who lives or dies — especially with respect to T1D. Those with T1D deserve to live life to its fullest and to be able to test as often as necessary WITHOUT some Corporation deciding what is or is not “cost effective.” Test strips are the tip-of-the-iceberg regarding the way in which T1D is utterly (and criminally) disregarded by the CEOs of Insurance Corporations, Pharma, and device manufacturers. Who’s kidding who? The gold standard of care with T1D is entirely ignored by those in the USA with the power and influence to do what is right — and not have us worry whether we’ll be alive next year or not due to lack of care, lack of access, lack of funds for a disease that is no the fault of those who have it.

  8. susan
    susan August 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm | | Reply

    I just wrestled with Medicare for the first time on behalf of my 20 year old son who has Type 1 diabetes and Down syndrome. He was diagnosed at 18 months after I insisted that he be checked for diabetes because he had the classic symptoms. The doctor said it was highly unlikely but I held my ground and surprise he did. Jake checks his blood 6-8 times a day and I now know about the 100 test strip limit. We too are keeping a log to send in to the supplier. I shudder to think what will happen after I die and someone else has to learn to navigate the”system” for him.

  9. Barbara
    Barbara August 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm | | Reply

    Agree and I understand. I have the same concerns — as my comments are based on 20 years of fighting for my son, who is now 23. No matter how hard we have tried, his T1D has never had a pattern upon which he can rely and as a result he has to test at least 6 x per day. But this is really only the beginning. And I do, absolutely, live in fear of a time when I cannot help him navigate the medical establishment or help him financially. It’s a huge thing. I hear about this fear from parents of many children with serious chronic diseases–as our country has become more cruel as each year passes. Wall Street, and those in congress who are owned by big corporations, really do not care about the suffering of innocents. I have found that talking about this harsh reality is not welcome on diabetes blogs. Most blogs promote sharing tips/tricks — not the inhumane treatment faced by those with T1D or other severe chronic illness.

  10. Dan
    Dan August 17, 2012 at 8:36 am | | Reply

    I found this article unnecessarily alarming. When I read it, I almost panicked since i use a dozen test strips a day. What the article should have pointed out is that, as long as your doctor is able to state you have a need for multiple testings a day [and it's easy for them to do that with Type 1s] this ought not be a problem. Of course it really helps the doc if you can document your usage [which your meter can provide].

  11. Barbara
    Barbara August 17, 2012 at 8:57 am | | Reply

    This is helpful input. Thank you.

    In our case, since my son was so young when diagnosed we have consistently made use of 3 meters: one at home, one in the backpack, one in the car (or school nurse’s office in earlier days). This has frustrated our attempts to track usage as our focus has been on convenient access. Still, though, so far the MDs have been willing to write the Rx — my concerns go beyond this detail to the time when access to an MD becomes [literally] the show-stopper.

    The trend in this country, instead of providing care to those with chronic life-threatening illnesses, is to marginalize them…and, of course, blame them.

  12. Seth Rothberg
    Seth Rothberg August 21, 2012 at 5:58 am | | Reply

    Seems to me this wouldn’t be a problem if the companies that make test strips didn’t charge so much for them.

  13. Barbara
    Barbara August 21, 2012 at 6:20 am | | Reply

    Yes. Far far cheaper would be a good start. And yet, Wall Street Insurance corporations (equivalent to investment banks) should be OUT of the equation entirely.

    Test strip technology is quite awesome. But it is time for the price to come way down. The manufacturers do need a business-sustainable way to ensure quality production which also meets the supply-demand requirements of a well run business. Once the price was lowered (substantially) then after about 6 mos to 1 year, manufacturers would get a more accurate picture of supply/demand and could set mfg goals accordingly.

    And these manufacturers are likely to say No to price adjustments and point to other manufacturing sectors or economic sectors which receive Subsidies to produce at quantities designed to stabilize both production and consumer ends of the spectrum.

    So here’s an example: we (taxpayers) through congressional legislation (laws) are required to pay Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) enormous sums of money so they can add an inefficient, expensive, dirty, additive to gasoline, i.e., ethanol. It’s a money machine for ADM and a ripoff for taxpayers. OTHER corporations look at this obvious gift to ADM in the form of a “subsidy” and decline to offer any sort of price breaks to consumers — yes, including supplies like test strips which are essential for LIFE — unless they too are “helped” by congressional law.

    The notion of intervention to enhance the market supply and demand imperative is OK with me but to “enhance” profits for ADM with our taxpayer money while congress denies meaningful assistance to those with T1D is criminal. I repeat: criminal.

    Test strips are one piece of the bigger (scary) pie regarding the barriers to care for those with T1D.

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  15. Lori
    Lori October 16, 2012 at 5:21 am | | Reply

    I just want to say Thank You. This was the first thing that made sense to me on how to use my (1) testing strip(s) effectively.

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