Gripe, Gripe,.....but hey, you guys can relate! (Meters, Strips, & Finances)

By CassBen Latest Reply 2013-04-26 08:59:34 -0500
Started 2013-04-09 12:15:49 -0500

So I hope I don't sound like a real bummer here, but I have to vent, if only for some validation. No one in my extended family or social circle has diabetes. They all care about my experiences, but in a detached sort of way. They want to hear about it, but not too much. Well, that's ok, who can blame them?

I try to cut costs where I can as it all gets so damn expensive sometimes. But two things happened to me this week (is it really only Tuesday?) that let the elephant into the room. Once acknowledging the elephant, the obvious answer is not to cut costs where your meter and strips are concerned…my hopefully obvious response is…not possible.

FIRS: I use a ReliOn meter from Walmart which seemed to do the job. Yesterday my fasting BG was 298. Had been running high for 24 hours, so decided to change the pump infusion set. I then tested for bolus and the pump said 37. 37? No way! I'd be incoherent! So I got out a new meter I had just received from a free offer…NovaMax Plus. Meter read 340…yikes. Well, ok, brand meter 1, Walmart meter 0.
Then I started thinking. My numbers have been fluctuating dramatically, and my Dr. and I haven't been able to get on top of it. Lots of lows, lots of highs, over reaction to bolus, or not enough, etc., etc…is this all because of the apparent inaccuracy of my meter and $9 strips? Say it ain't so!!! But I checked with the contrfol solution and everything was in range. What the heck…Ggrrrr!

SECOND: My new meter. Awesome! And it checks for ketones in the blood. A lot to like here, not to mention accuracy. BUT, and it's a big one for me, the strips must cost an arm and a leg. But wait! What is this? A company provided co-pay card! Happy, happy, me! $15 co-pay, call here to register…Rx required, and insurance.
Here's the thing. I still don't know the cost for strips - one strip is for BG, the other is for ketones. Pay attention here…if you have State or Federal insurance, you ARE NOT ELIGIBLE for this co-pay. I have Medicare with no Rx coverage. Medicare pays for diabetes supplies, but you have to pay too. So, the expense when you get strips, insulin, and pump supplies? Well, for me it approaches $1000 every few months, and it is too much. And the cost of strips does make a difference. $9 vs. $69 for 50 strips. Right. Brand meter 0, Walmart meter 1.

Which leaves me right where I started and brings me back to that elephant…ouch.

8 replies

lorider70 2013-04-26 08:59:34 -0500 Report

There are so many different meters out there; I wonder just how accurate any of them are. Not too far out of the realm of possibility that some may be skewed to the "high side" to get people to test more often and therefor buy more strips and meters. I guess I don't trust anything that depends on money to exist.

Dr John
Dr John 2013-04-24 08:57:19 -0500 Report

In a study I just finished, I found the Abbott FreeStyle meter to be the most accurate and have the least amount of interference. Chemicals like vitamin C, ibuprophen, etc. can interfere with the BG reading. I cannot give you the reference because my website is commercial and I will be banned from this forum.

CassBen 2013-04-25 09:18:10 -0500 Report

Thank you for your answer. I was not aware that vitamins and ibuoprophen had any effect at all. I do take vitamin B and D, and an OTC called Brain Strong, though these things are not new to me. Think I will go research that meter, and see what I can find on the study. Thanks again for the reply

GabbyPA 2013-04-09 20:13:49 -0500 Report

I also use the Reli-On meter and I have not had it be that out of whack. I test mine against my doctor visits to make sure it's close. Could it be that you got some bad test strips?

I hear you though. Testing is vital and you have to be able to trust your meter. What you might want to do is go to your pharmacist and see if they will test you and get you a "control" that way. I know a hospital will do that, but that involves an ER visit. Not really what you want to do.

Roxannescott 2013-04-09 13:49:05 -0500 Report

I know…always seems like you're between a rock and a hard place… I get free meters from Bayer. A freestyle lite meter… and I go to diabetic supply online to order strips much cheaper!!!! ..I have a regular insurance co. I always make sure to get receipts for the strips to get reembursed ..go on line and see about free meter offers… ive been using BG meters for 32 years and this one seems the easiest to use…

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