Did you know.....

By CALpumper Latest Reply 2011-01-08 13:20:41 -0600
Started 2008-03-13 16:37:08 -0500

That test strips on average cost $1 each? Earlier today I did not apply enough blood to the strip and my meter gave me an error message. I cringed thinking of the money wasted. I also find myself thinking I know where my blood glucose level is so I do not have to test and try to save money.

You are thinking…"what is she thinking?" "why would you do that?" "you always need to know your levels!"

And you are correct. But lack of health insurance and programs I do not qualify for have put the damper on my daily management. I have had to rethink everything I do, everyday. I am more aware of things than I ever was. What else am I to do?

Not enough money to afford health insurance, medical help (visits, lab tests, discussions) and lack of resources in the area…what else can I do except take almost 24 years of experience and try to keep going on my own.

Anyone else in this situation? Or have you been? Where have you sought help? How did you cope with the constant frustrations?

33 replies

Meme1516 2011-01-08 13:20:41 -0600 Report

At our local Walmart they sell Reli-On meters and Test strips. The Test strips are the cheapest I can find. 100 Strips for $39. In one of the Diabetic magazines this brand got a good review for accuracy. I am still working on getting my
sugars under control so I use more strips than I would like too. They also have Humulin N for $24.99. I have no insurance and can't find any I can afford but
my husbands disability is too much for help based on income. A no win situation for sure. Many of the companies give meters away free to get you to buy the strips. Good luck to all.

ali eletre
ali eletre 2009-05-03 07:45:39 -0500 Report

Hello CAL
I am too have the same problem my mecation insurance not covering test stips and insuline .. for you I did not test my levels since ten days ago because I dont have strips I am waiting to take my retired salary to buy it .. so you are not alone in this problem ..
hopine some socites help you

Antique-Dave 2009-05-02 08:49:51 -0500 Report

I'm finding the best deals on ebay for strips and I think I like the Bayer countour meter better then the accucheck one simply because it takes such a small sample of blood.

cyncyn 2009-04-23 10:10:25 -0500 Report

where i live, there is a free clinic, in different counties. they are completely free. the only reguirement is , that you have no insurance! no matter your income. they are regular drs. who volunteer their time. they are state funded. maybe worh checking into.good luck

silver.lily 2009-04-23 00:12:07 -0500 Report

I Also have no insurance, no doctor and thank goodness no need of medication "yet"…
-I wanted to start monitoring more faithfully and make sure to keep an eye on things so I know when there is a need to fork out the cash for a Dr visit.
-My sister sent in a card and got me a free monitor but no stips. So I checked with wal-mart and they were unable to help with anything less than $1 a strip.
- I taked with another independant pharmacy and I was able to get a TrueTrack monitor for less than $30 and the strips were only $50 for 100 which is half price. still expensive but slightly more managable than the price of a dr visit. the pharmacist also said if I wanted to buy several boxes at one time they would make sure and give me a discount. To bad I didn't have $200 waiting in my bank account !

CALpumper 2009-04-23 01:22:35 -0500 Report

Hi silver.lilly,

You can get a free meter from any manufacturer, look them up — call, email — they will send you a meter or a discount type card to get it free. Don't ever pay for one. You can always get it free somewhere.

The key is deciding on a meter that works for you (ease of use, functions etc etc) And what you can afford in test strips.

Amazon.com has some Great prices on test strips.
I used to use (for the past two years) the TrackEase, around $20 for 50 of them. HealthWarehouse.com also sells them and a bunch of others.

I recently switched over to the WaveSense Presto, they have other meters too: Jazz and Keynote. Their test strips are cheap too (look them up on Amazon also).

Hope this helps a little.

Having no health insurance is a pain. But I have found ways to get what I need within my means. Just a matter of research and asking, it can take time.

LeighG 2008-06-11 07:01:04 -0500 Report

what about getting a store brand meter and stripes?i have lloked them up and they can be a good less money then some.like here in pa we have walmarts brand or walgreens and theres are cheaper then some.i know mine coast alot but my work pays for most.i looked them up cause some people i know get a second meter to leave in the office or shore homes and they say they work just as good so i have been looking into a second on.just thought i would share.

kjb08807 2008-06-09 06:33:09 -0500 Report

My health insurance has mandated that I use a mail-order pharmacy. They have on three separate occasions tried to kill me, by sending out of date medications, wrong medications, and the last time a medication I was allergic to. They also sent me a "lifetime supply of test strips", which were out of date when I received them. I was authorized one strip per week. Needless to say, I know exactly how you feel. Last year, with reduced levels of doctor visits, and all the rest, medical expenses chewed up almost $ 30 K of my income, taking me down to the poverty level in my area. I kind of tossed in the towel on regular care, as I will not deal with the jerks shipping me poison to try and kill me, and my employer just wants to maintain the status quo, no matter the actual cost.

CALpumper 2008-06-02 17:04:53 -0500 Report


I tried to get connected with Montel's site. Many others too, by state, I live in upstate New York and by company throughout the US and by manufacturer. The "conditions and stipulations" are tough though, um, to get through as a young woman, almost 30, good job and well, a pre-existing chronic liability, PWD for short, ha ha.

Either way, it is tough out there but I don't give up easily . . .

azmisty 2008-05-26 07:30:05 -0500 Report

Hi Crystal:

Gee, I hear your frustration loud and clear. I wish that I had some concrete suggestions for you but the only thing that I can think of are the programs from the Pharmaceutical Companies that help people get their meds.

You might try contacting the mfg of the test strips and see if they have similar programs.

Also, let me know the meter that you are using and if I have the same meter…i will be happy to share some of my test strips with you.

I wish you the very best and I know if you keep searching that there will be a way to get help.

Take care…Misty

CALpumper 2008-06-02 17:02:10 -0500 Report

Thank you so much Misty.

I am using the TrackEase Smart System meter right now as a friend hooked me up with 400 strips. I also have the AccuChek Avia and the OneTouch Ultra which is my favorite but strips are expensive and few for them (meaning 10 or 25 strips to a bottle, something like that for Avia too.) The TrackEase, I have 50 strips per bottle. SO nice to watch myself slowly go through the bottle! ha!

Thank you again all for the comments. Even with medical discounts (which I currently have) it is hard to get what I really need without paying so much out of pocket.

Dancehawk 2008-05-26 07:03:15 -0500 Report

I have seen them on ebay and got a meter from ebay well 2 for the price of one.
Also call the company see if they have a help program i know on my meds it says if you do not have ins or cant aford, and apply for medicad? i think is the name.
My brother got on plus ssi.
Let us know if you find them at a good price hun.


morris.js 2008-05-26 07:16:24 -0500 Report

I am a representative for the NASE, and through our association, you can get discount cards that can greatly reduce the costs of things like Diabetes testing supplies. I'm not here to promote our association, I just wanted to make you aware that there are discount programs that do help with the costs. I know these do not compare to full insurance coverage, but it does help. With being a Diabetic myself, and having had open heart surgery, I am uninsurable with all the companies I tried to get coverage through. The discount programs I have found give me some decent discounts on everything including hospital stays. Again, I apologize for not having a better answer for you, but maybe it can help.

woweetoo 2011-01-08 12:10:40 -0600 Report

unfortunately those places that offer you discounts and cards and stuff neglect those of us who have monetary problems..they pretend to be wonderful but if you have medicare or any state run insurance and stuff that has copays you are not eligible..wonder why that is..someone accused me of 'double dipping' or wanting to..my doc wants 4-6 times a day..i am on insulin and i can only test once because that is what medicare covers and all the discount programs are like that and although the work for those who have no insurance they don't work for the elderly for sure so i am totally not impressed by their politics

patti 2008-05-02 03:02:29 -0500 Report

For those of you without ins contact or go to Montel Williams.com for info on the program he partnered with the drug companies maybe they can help!

Betty Jo Petty
Betty Jo Petty 2008-05-03 17:59:30 -0500 Report

Diabetic supplies can be a hard thing to deal with. Plus the cost, even if you have help.

I'm wondering and thinking here about this.

What if we control our diabetes better?

Anonymous 2009-05-02 10:19:54 -0500 Report

I "invest" in strips in order to control my diabetes better. How would I manage my blood sugar if I didn't know what it was, I ask myself? However, I too remind myself that prevention saves a lot of money in the long run and I look forward to the day when I have lost the weight I need to lose and hopefully can stop taking some of the meds. I'd like to think that retirement isn't too far off and for reasons I won't go into here I am very appreciative of the struggles those on retirement incomes have paying for health care. My heart goes out to any one without insurance and there but for the grace of God go I.

Tamara - 14585
Tamara - 14585 2008-05-01 11:46:30 -0500 Report

I am new here but I've been dealing with diabetes since Jan. 2000. I was hoping that what my Mother and Grandmother had would skip me… any way back to the subject

It is sad that as hard as we try our supplies, strips, alcohal pads, glouco machines, etc… will cost us at least one arm and maybe my foot. Of all my medicines that I am on it seems like the ones I have the hardest time getting are for my diabetes. I have had insurace on and off mostly off and I have had to pay for the stips, insulin 2 kinds, my 2 different pills just for the diabetes I found out that for a 3 month supply of Junivia it was going to cost over $500.00 cash price, whatever happened to a cash discount?/
I but my meter from Wal-Mart it's $8.88 and my strips are 21.96 for 50 and my insulin is 21.96 for my 70/30 and my Re it's Novolin my Dr said it was ok so that helps some plus he gives me my Junivia as samples I pray it works out for everyone
God Bless

dyanne 2009-04-23 01:12:16 -0500 Report

Tamara can you take junuvia and insulin ? I was just wondering I'am also on novolog 70/30 and I have heard so many good things about junuvia. would you let me know thaks.
Hugs dyanne

CALpumper 2008-04-19 07:57:17 -0500 Report

Thank you All for your comments!

Although I hate hearing that others are going through this, it is a "nice" feeling that I am not alone.

Hence why I am learning to advocate. I will be attending the Call to Congress this year (I leave for DC on the 30th of April). On my blog I have asked the Diabetes Online Community to let me know what they want me to bring to the event…

Top on my list is Health Insurance and the "Test Strip War."

Luckily my doctors have helped me out with test strips. Some friends have also. I did apply to Lilly Cares to get insulin for a year (through my Endo and only a little bit of paperwork). That has helped tremendously, less of a worry. I wear the pump so knowing I have insulin in my body 24 hours puts me at ease.

It just saddens and sickens me that we have to struggle for life sustaining medication. We did not ask for this disease, why should we struggle? And there seems to be a Big Misunderstanding that we Need those test strips to know our blood sugar level in order to take the correct amount of insulin!! (seems like common sense, huh…)

Here's to fighting the good fight! I will keep everyone posted about my trip to DC. What I learn there I will take to my community at home first. Then I will apply it however I can online.

and worn out…living with T1 and Advocating One Day At A Time (http://wwwitiswhatitis.blogspot.com)

Thanks again!

abidinginGodscall 2008-04-19 06:51:16 -0500 Report

I know exactly what you are going through. I tried to manage my diabetes without insulin and was running over 600 everyday. I constantly had cellulitis and was in the hospital a lot, which of course didn't help my limited finances. You can get help to pay the hospital bill through the hospital but their grant doesn't pay for the doctors. Luckily I found a doctor who didn't charge for his services. I was able to get samples and drugs from the drug companies. As far as the strips I tried to take my reading a couple of times a day to keep from using them up too quickly. Insulin is $30.00 a bottle even now that I have medicare and I take two different kinds. I can not afford $60.00 for insulin. I was able to get samples from the doctor but they don't always have samples. When I don't have samples I just do the best I can until they get some. If your income is low enough you can get help from the drug companies. It's hard to deal with I know myself. Many days you just want to pull the covers up over your head and not get up. But I enjoy sewing and reading so I try to stay busy and as I said I just do the best I can do.

Ginetteb 2008-06-11 06:28:16 -0500 Report

I am on Medicare,and all my diabetes supply (that's, glucose meter, strips, lancets) are free. I have a very low co-payment for my insulin and needles through my secondary insurance. If you need to know who provides me with the free supply, let me know. I'll be glad to give you the name of the company, however, when you see the add on TV, you should call, it's true, you don't have to pay for it all and a 3-month supply is mailed to you.

dispatchernikki 2009-04-22 14:47:27 -0500 Report

Could you please let me know who this is for the 3 month supply. I am having a really hard time getting my supplies and a meter. Thank you greatly. If you want just e-mail at girly@midrivers.com small
or let me know on here. Thank you so much.

adam_dmer 2008-03-18 05:19:06 -0500 Report

I'm also without health insurance. And yeah, I too cringe everytime my glucometer gives me an error message and I have to throw the strip away and insert a new one.
For awhile, I tried to cut back to two test strips daily and rotate through the test times (before breakfast, after breakfast, before lunch, after lunch, before exercise, midway thru exercise, after exercise, etc.)
That didn't work! I have to test six times daily, on average. If I know what it is, I can control it (blood sugar). If not, fuggedaboudit.
Fortunately, a family member is helping me buy insulin and test strips and periodic blood tests. I order test strips from hocks.com

adam_dmer 2008-03-18 05:27:01 -0500 Report

My most recent order was $143.72 for 253 test strips. Do the math, and you'll see that averages about 57 cents per test. No, I don't keep track of how many retests occur because of cold temperatures, low battery, mistimed blood application, etc. etc. That would be too depressing. Seems to be not more than two or three rejected test strips in an order of 253 strips.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2008-03-13 16:45:08 -0500 Report

We have decent health insurance and i still cringe everytime a test strip goes to waste. I can't imagine paying full price. There's got to be some resource, some program to help you out. Once we get this community really rolling, I hope we can find someone who can point you in the right direction.

TRKnight2007 2008-03-13 17:01:31 -0500 Report

I definitely have some ideas around this. Stay tuned.

TBOzarka1 2008-03-14 02:42:35 -0500 Report

Why not offer Test Strips for certain level of points? Beneficial to the community and to the person.

TRKnight2007 2008-03-14 03:28:44 -0500 Report

The bigger idea is to help Community members who are paying out of pocket find a resource that can offer something at a much cheaper price point. We aren't a supplier, but we can be a conduit to negotiate the best deals for our members. But like I said before . . . stay tuned ;)

rberger73 2011-01-08 07:50:50 -0600 Report

hmmm why not bagin in one large group we tell them waht we want to pay if they dont want to pay it we go some place else , but to do that we all have to band togthere to make it work hit them in the pocket book :)

tmana 2008-05-03 02:20:15 -0500 Report

I am fortunate that my current medical insurance covers all diabetes medications and supplies with no out-of-pocket cost; however, when I was paying out-of-pocket I found I got much better deals on strips and lancets for my Accu-Chek Active, Freestyle, and Freestyle Flash when purchasing through mail-order distributors such as Hocks and American Diabetes Wholesale.

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