Did you know that you may obtain essentially any blood glucose meter for little or no cost? A new meter can often be obtained for free immediately, or you may receive a rebate after purchase for all or most of the cost paid. The market for selling blood glucose testing supplies is very competitive, so you should never pay full price for a meter. Information about low and no cost meters is available in almost every pharmacy or via company websites. If you see a meter that you like without a savings promotion, contact the manufacturer and there is a very good chance a company representative will work with you to get their meter into your hands for little or no cost. They want you to have their meter because the money is made selling the test strips. This is where you will have to research a little more, as the out of pocket price for the strips will likely influence your choice of meters. Different brands of strips are not interchangeable; you must use the strips specified for each brand of meter. Once you are satisfied with the long term cost of supplies, your choice of meter will depend on the assorted features that you need or desire.
Several options are available to minimize the out of pocket cost of testing supplies. The first step is to rule out whether or not you have insurance that will cover part or all of the cost. If you have a prescription drug benefit, check to see if diabetic testing supplies are included for coverage and what your COPAY is, and whether or not the copay varies by brand. If you do have benefit coverage, you will need to obtain a prescription for your testing supplies before your claim can be processed. You will also need to determine if your supplies can be obtained at any local pharmacy, or exclusive to a specific pharmacy or mail order facility. Please note that if you have Medicare Part B coverage, there are multiple other requirements and restrictions for supply claim processing. After all the rules have been identified and complied with, you can now determine your expected expense. If you do not have insurance, or lack coverage for testing supplies, you will have to pay the retail price of the supplies. The best way to manage this expense is by comparative shopping. On average, most of the popular brand name strips will cost over $1.00 per strip with various quantity discounts. Off brand strips are usually 50 to 75% less, saving a lot of money without sacrificing quality.
Taking advantage of the marketplace competitiveness will help you control the cost of blood glucose monitoring, plus it offers the opportunity to compare features. By obtaining free or low cost meters, you may test them for yourself and identify the features most important to you, and ultimately make routine testing as convenient as possible. I hope that by reading my words of pharmacist wisdom, controlling diabetes becomes a little easier and saves you some money as well.