Are type 2's in danger of losing insurance coverage for testing supplies?

John Crowley
By John Crowley Latest Reply 2016-02-21 10:41:44 -0600
Started 2012-04-19 12:03:30 -0500

I just read this article about a study that showed that for people with type 2 diabetes who are NOT on insulin, testing blood sugar provided almost zero improvement in their A1c as compared to those who don't test at all.

This seems crazy to me. And it's not hard to imagine that insurance companies may decide that they shouldn't cover testing supplies if testing doesn't actually help achieve better blood sugar control.

I do see a few flaws in the research. It appears that they don't make any distinction between the type 2 who tests once per day and someone who tests multiple times per day.

But what do you all think? Does testing make a difference for you? Do you have better control because you test?

Here's the link:

50 replies

onafixedincome 2016-02-21 10:41:44 -0600 Report

Document, document, document, people. SHOW the darn insurance how well you can control with testing at the intervals you need. After all, that's the data they are likely to use in determining 'how many' and 'how much' they will approve…

Pat_R 2015-08-25 03:24:43 -0500 Report

my deductible is so high on my insurance that I have to pay completely for my supplies. I started using and they're pretty reasonable…there are some options out there if insurance stops covering them

Cheryl0213 2015-07-29 04:25:58 -0500 Report

WOW , yes testing helps , it keeps you on track. I have type two and it isnt just the testing supplies they are trying to stop .I take insulin and my insurance company refused to pay for my last refill every month stating I am taking too much . MD switched insulin and now im good . Work and talk to your doctor but never stop testing .

suecsdy 2015-07-02 13:43:30 -0500 Report

I think multiple testing helps keep me focused on trying to eat better. When I know my numbers are good it encourages me to stick to my diet plan. If I were constantly guessing, then I would probably not be eating so well. It would be too easy to say"who's gonna know".

Chopstix 2014-08-21 12:49:50 -0500 Report

At first I had trouble with insurance company and then I started using the VA. Like clock work I get my supplies every three months…

shortysmalls 2014-04-21 12:43:00 -0500 Report

testing has helped me keep my diabetes under control. if didn't test, on times that my sugar went to 40, wouldn't have been able to react accordingly if hadn't so it does benefit and buy the reli on brand from Walmart, strips cheaper for 50 and don't have to pay the 30.00 for 100 one touch strips. having insurance does help though

Pastor Naomi
Pastor Naomi 2014-03-06 13:35:04 -0600 Report

Hi, John,
Pastor Naomi here. I am on Medicare. I am also a Type 2 who is insulin dependent. That is because I am missing an important organ in my body that is not there to filter the diabetes drugs. Every pill I took I barfed. So Insulin keeps me in range with no side effects. Last year 2013, Medicare told me they only wanted me to test 2 times per day. I wrote back and said I was not doing it there way. They wanted me to lose control of my BS and keep my meds cheap. I told them I needed to test before every meal in order to does my insulin. Amount is based on the results. I told them I needed to test 2 hours after meals, and at bedtime so I would not go low in the night and so that I could tell I had given the right amount of insulin at meal time. I also told them I needed to test before driving my car especially on trips which we take a fair number. I asked them if they wanted me to have a low behind the wheel of my car and kill their family member. My husband has been blind for the past 11 years and cannot drive at all. I drive us wherever we need to go, and I drive with hand controls because of my disabilities. Since I can't exercise, I need to be in control of my BS daily. It took 3 appeals, but I finally won my right to receive 650 test strips every 3 months. They have not contested that ever since I asked if they wanted me to have a low behind the wheel and kill their relative. I do not think we deserve for others to control our right to take care of our medical issues instead of ourselves. No one knows better than you how your body responds. I pray that no one gets the idea Medicare got, that they could control our testing. If your company challenges your right, fight back. Who knows, you might even be like me and win. God bless.

onafixedincome 2016-02-21 10:36:16 -0600 Report

You GO! That's the kind of persistence we need to see more of to protect our right to reasonable care in the face of insurance. Thankfully, my insurance is very good at listening to my doctor, who is very good at listening to me…I hope it stays that way.

CJ55 2013-05-23 06:12:04 -0500 Report

Oh btw… My A1C at one point was 12.6… I am now down and have kept it down for almost 2 years to 5.2 - 5.4 That would have never happened without testing… You just cannot test 1 time a day if you are a diabetic unless you really understand your body and you truly know what to eat and how your body process' everything. Good luck to all the Diabetics out there. Hugz

CJ55 2013-05-23 06:04:21 -0500 Report

Wow… This is crazy.. I do not know what I would do if I could not test or if I could only test once a day. I test 5-6 times a day per my Endo. I use the Ultra one touch mini and love it. As long as my Endo writes how many times I have to test I have no problem getting the right about of strips per 90 day use. I have never been denied. I have been on and off insulin for several years but even when I was not on insulin I still had no problem with supplies. I am a T2. There may be a day when this happens, but surely hope not. I test in order to see what I am eating affects my BS just like everyone else does. I don't think using Insulin should have anything to do with how many times a diabetic tests in a day. Diabetics test their BS to see how low or high they are to avoid problems and to eat the proper foods when needed and to keep everything balanced and in check. If you are too high after eating than you know you ate too many carbs or sugar and next time eat less. This is how we learn what to and what not to eat. Everyone knows it is a guessing game until you can figure out what your body can and cannot tolerate and how low and high your BS get. You Do Not have to be on insulin to do that. ALL DIABETICS NEED TO DO THIS and Most Diabetics know this already. Yes, T1s and T2s are different but overall the basics are the same. Test Test Test.. That is the first thing we are told…

lorider70 2013-05-22 14:37:11 -0500 Report

After all the years I've had type II; I don't feel frequent testing helps much. I guess after all this time I just fell into a proper eating habit. Nothing's perfect though; my weight is lower than I would like; and the neuropathy does it's thing even when under control of BG…at least in my case.

karenality 2012-06-16 10:25:56 -0500 Report

I have Type 2 but was recently diagnosed. My doc wants me to test twice a day. Fasting a.m. and after dinner. My Nutritionist wants me to Test Piggy back (dual test…Fasting and after breakfast) and after dinner. Insurance will only allow 2x day like doc said. Confused! There's a Senior I know who was stripped of her testing supplies. Her blood sugars are all out of whack and she's been having dizzy/fainting spells and mini strokes! Wow. It's getting crazy out there.

Winks61 2012-06-16 14:05:07 -0500 Report

It was very scary Gabby! There was a lady in the hospital the day before younger than myself who's A1C was 1500 she died the same day she was brought to the hospital.

classof78 2012-05-12 18:06:22 -0500 Report

My dr wanted me to test 3 times a day. The insurance din't think I needed to. My dr. won that arguement, and I got a letter stating I could have enough strips to test 3 times-for a year. When the year was up, ihe insurance called the pharmacy and reduced the no. of strips I get. They did not call the dr-I did, then the dr called them. Didn't work this time, I get 1/2 the amount of strips, but still pay the same co-pay. I am not impressed with this ins. company, neither are my co-workers, but it is what we have.

Winks61 2012-04-29 17:09:21 -0500 Report

Had I tested at all during my bronchitis attack last year instead of assuming the pills were taking care of everything, well let's just say I wouldn't have almost died. My sugar was at 1200 when I went to hospital.

GabbyPA 2012-04-29 21:39:24 -0500 Report

OMG...I didn't know it could go that high. You are a miracle that you can tell the tale. That had to be so frightening.

Somoca 2012-04-24 15:10:22 -0500 Report

I do not have insurance where I work, so everything I buy comes out of my pocket. This dictates how many times that I test; so I test in the morning once and handle my food intake accordingly. I would like to test more because I have rushes during the day but my strips are too valuable and scarce to do so. The test drum for one meter is 60.00.. If I change meters my strips can cost as much as 40.00 but do not cover an entire month. It is very stressful.

MainEvent 2012-04-24 08:20:03 -0500 Report

For me, testing makes a big difference. First it helps me to figure out which foods increase my glucose the most therefore I know which foods to avoid or at least monitor. I requested an insulin pen so I could assist when my glucose is high. Initially I was using it often but as time went on and I continued to test, I find I use it a lot less often and I keep my glucose in pretty tight control. i don't know how we could do this without testing and knowing what the glucose is. I hope insurance does not stop assisting. I test 2-3 times a day and I find it very beneficial. Oh, I use a sliding scale provided by my Dr so I know how much insulin to take when I do need it.

Richknowbody 2012-04-22 09:30:51 -0500 Report

I'm a type 2 that is on an insulin pump. If I test and see it is up I correct it. But if it is high and you are not on insulin how do you correct it? Exercise? You can't take a shot. Or postpone eating?
My last visit to my doctor he downloaded my last 5500 tests and told me my average was 117 blood glucose. We were both surprised. I had no idea I was doing that good.
I did a lot of fasting, so I know I lowered my average that way.
Testing is important, you have to know where you are at, so you can correct. Fasting would be one way to correct for a non-insulin type 2.

firedad33 2012-04-22 08:24:14 -0500 Report

Wow, I was just dx this year in may. My ac1 was 15 plus and had no idea. If I couldn't test I would be lost. Let alone afford this stuff out of pocket all the time. I am still struggling to get control.

jigsaw 2012-04-21 15:07:00 -0500 Report

My endo requires that I bring my meter with me on my appointments. He downloads the data so he can examine the results. Along with lab tests and an exam, he can then make a a reasonably accurate assesment as to medication requirements, and how I'm doing in general. Testing is the "mother" of guidelines as to what to eat and knowing how certain foods affect us.

Only people who do not test would be unaffected if insurance coverage for test supplies were eliminated, and they likely will incur excessively large insurance claims down the line!

I don't believe this coverage will ever be eliminated, I certainly hope it never is, actually, this would be an absurdity!!!

GabbyPA 2012-04-20 15:06:10 -0500 Report

Testing makes a HUGE difference! Who is running that kind of study? I do so much better when I have enough testing supplies to keep on top of my levels. It helps me choose better as my day proceeds and keeps me safe at night. I used to test 4-6 times a day and I was improving. I am down to 1-2 times (that is recommended by my doctor as well) and I don't do as well. I just cannot afford to test like I used to.

So I think these guys are nuts to say things like this. It is the out for insurance companies to stop paying for supplies.

The thing that makes or breaks our A1c's are our tools and our determination. Even with testing 1-2 times a day, I can keep my A1c at 6.7, but I have been as low as 6.4 with more testing.

cindygal1 2012-04-21 12:02:46 -0500 Report

I am with Blue Cross Blue Shield and my testing supplies are free. Maybe you need to check out other insurance companies.

Somoca 2012-04-24 15:12:28 -0500 Report

Everyone can not afford insurance or have that as an option.

GabbyPA 2012-04-29 07:23:01 -0500 Report

Yeah, I work for myself and have no shield to help me out. We just cannot afford it and now it is getting even harder. I don't know what will happen when we are "forced" to have it. I will not have money for gas or food...those are my options.

Lefty0001 2012-04-19 20:24:49 -0500 Report

I spent a life's career in the Process Control industry … where there's an old axiom … "If you can't measure it, you can't control it!"

Armourer 2012-04-19 19:46:06 -0500 Report

For several years I didn't test, and several more years where it really didn't help because of my attitude, but in the last three months it has become very important to me especially since taking victoza; as my BG becomes more in the normal range I'm not noticing the low signals or the low signals aren't sent. Testing is very important to me now.

ullie44 2012-04-19 20:07:22 -0500 Report

just read an article on victoza, amourer..not good for you…already asking to take it off the market!! google it..

Armourer 2012-04-20 01:40:56 -0500 Report

I'm at the point where I really don't care. I can't lose weight at all, but this drug makes it possible and it controls my BG excellently. I've begun with retinopothy and my last visit stated that my kidneys weren't working properly. Right now taking it is much like forty plus years ago when the only way to go to college for me was enlist in the military. I rolled the dice and had a 50/50 chance of being killed in Vietnam, I survived. I look at this as much the same thing. But thanks for the concern.

DeanaG 2012-04-19 17:41:57 -0500 Report

I find the more often I test the better control I have.

ullie44 2012-04-19 20:05:58 -0500 Report

i feel the same, deanag..i also track what i eat and it sure helps. it's called prevention and insurance companies don't want to pay for that!!

jayabee52 2012-04-19 17:25:47 -0500 Report

I am not using diabetes meds of any kind, yet I rely on my meter to tell me my particular unique reaction to various foods or drinks. I would be back to wandering in the wilderness without a compass or map without being able to test my blood glucose (BG) levels at least 3 x /day.

BarbDJ 2012-04-23 16:59:36 -0500 Report

I've had diabletes for 5 years and am not on any meds. I watch what I eat, exercise and test often. My A1C was 5.7 last month when my doctor checked. It has gone down consistently and I know testing frequently is a big part of my control.

Caroltoo 2012-04-19 17:35:58 -0500 Report

Me, too. I think Insurance companies think that it's only needed for determining insulin injections. Very short sighted of them, but the medical profession and insurance companies really aren't proactive when it comes to prevention. (Understatement made somewhat tongue in check.)

Copperchef 2012-04-19 16:19:36 -0500 Report

Thanks John,
Appears this guy is working for the insurance companies. Did some research and found him working his own company "Lbg Brand Research". Could not find any info as to who sponsored the study., very clandestine. May actually have been sponsored by the insurance companies, given the size of the study. But in reading it, the whole thing was really very vague. No solid statistical facts in the overview. It was well cherry picked it seemed for health insurance providers.
Thanks again for the heads up.
I test 4 times a day and don't know what I would do if I couldn't. Or better yet if I had to pay for the supplies myself!

Lizardfan 2012-04-19 13:01:09 -0500 Report

I test at least 4 times daily, more if I feel the need. Whenever I detect a low blood sugar I test often until my numbers stabilize. How on earth would you know where you are in terms of BS levels without testing often? I can't rely on feelings, to some degree I do know when I am starting to get low but haven't a clue when I am higher!

Irish1951 2012-04-19 12:47:49 -0500 Report

The very idea of this is ridiculous. I was Dx in Oct 2010 with an A1c of 7.1. As of Nov 2011, my A1c was down to 5.7 and I expect it to be even lower given my recent averages of daily BS. I know that because I am able to test up to 4 times per day around my meals or any other time I feel it needed. It allows me to see what specific foods do to my BS and to what degree and for how long. To imagine trying to manage all this without benefit of a meter and test strips is impossible.

It seems to be a very short sighted view of our condition. Once again, the research/ medical community is trying to tell us what we need rather than asking us what we think. We all know that the monster is different for all of us and our bovids react differently to it. ALA, cinnamon, chromium, ect doesn't work and it is not supported by the research. Yet there are a great number of us that know some of these things do work for some of us. We are not just statistic, we are individuals and know our bodies and circumstances better than most of the people that are treating us.