Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12 Tips for Traveling With Diabetes
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter
Latest
Popular
Top Rated
Insulin Shots Archives
Print | Email | Share | Comments (9)

Fighting For Test Strips


Nov 19, 2012

Meagan Esler

Recently while I was out shopping with my sister, I tested my blood sugar and found that I had a high reading of 217. Because I had just downed a non-fat pumpkin spice latte and still had active insulin in my bloodstream, I skipped correcting it with an insulin shot and went on trying on clothing and chatting with my sister. When I got to my car afterward, I realized that I felt a little like I was drunk, so I figured that I'd better test my blood sugar again. It was 58.

As I sat in my car chomping on glucose tabs, I realized how many test strips I'd gone through that day, and I began to get mad. I had already used up the allowance per day that my insurance company had declared acceptable, and it was only one in the afternoon!

A few days before, when I refilled my test strips at the pharmacy, the staff told me that I was only supposed to test three to four times a day. I quickly reminded them that I have type 1 diabetes and take insulin shots more often than that every single day. When I told them that I typically test around eight times a day, they said they'd call the doctor's office to try to get more. They phoned later to reassure me that I could return and pick up the additional strips.

I returned to the pharmacy a couple days later, and they gave me enough test strips to test three to four times a day! When I explained, again, the error to the pharmacy staff, they informed me that while they remembered calling for approval, the computer still showed that I could only get the lesser amount, per my insurance. I was finally able to get it all straightened out by arguing, but I was puzzled as to why the insurance company would dangerously limit the strips in the first place.

I recently had an A1C test, and I was crushed to find that even after all the hard work I've been doing, my A1C had gone up a bit. I explained to the doctor just how upsetting it is that my test strips are so limited: How does the insurance company expect someone to have tight control and successfully lower her A1C if she hardly knows where her blood sugars are all day?

I demanded more test strips, and thankfully I got them, at least until the next refill. Just seeing that drop in my blood sugar as I shopped for an hour proves to me just how much I need each and every one of those precious little test strips. I've seen far too many friends with diabetes and parents of children with diabetes having to fight for test strips lately, and it infuriates me. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't they be begging us to take good care of ourselves and test more? Rationing test strips shouldn't be a part of our diabetes management. We must be able to test enough to stay safe and healthy.


Categories: A1C, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Magazine, Diabetes Management, Diabetic, Food, Glucose Tabs, Insulin, Insulin Shots, Test Strips



You May Also Be Interested In...


Comments

Posted by Anonymous on 19 November 2012

What is it about the US? Where I live, strips are not covered by most insurance companies, but they are available over the counter. If they were available OTC in the US, you could at least supplement by buying them yourself. These things cannot be that expensive to make. They don't have gold or unicorn horn in them. Why can't they be cheap and freely available?!

Posted by Anonymous on 22 November 2012

Because I have had shaky insurance I had started to use the Target brand meter and strips (25 strips are 19.99) and then I discovered Walmart- meter is $16.84. 50 strips are 8.99. You can even purchase your lancets for less than 5.00. I also have the same accuracy with this meter that I had using one of the big names but I save money and no insurance to tell me how much I can test.

Posted by Anonymous on 22 November 2012

I recently read an article in a diabetes magazine in a doctor's office about the manufacturing of test strips. The reason they are so expensive is the technology involved, and yes, there is gold (printed circuitry)in them. I have my strips supplied by the VA healthcare system and am not limited. I get at least 150 per month. I have Type II diabetes and testing 4 to 5 times a day is my regimin. I am on Lantus once a day and Novalog before every meal. My biggest expense is the $8 co-pay for each medication per month,even on a 90 day supply.I take around 11 meds a month, so the co-pay with with strips and syringes is over $100. Compared to $360 a month just for strips, I can't coplain.

Posted by Anonymous on 22 November 2012

Well... one could go to Walmart and buy a ReliOn meter for about $18 and test strips for about 18 cents apiece ... one doesn't need a prescription to do that. You can buy as many as you want and (at least for me) would be cheaper than my co-pay for aviva strips. Oh, and ReliOn strips ARE on my company's "formulary" so the bottom line cost is about 6 cents/strip (but a prescription is needed for insurance purposes)

Posted by Jerry Smith on 22 November 2012

I am an older Type 1 subject to severe hypoglycemia. I have been able to eliminate severe hypoglycemic episodes by using a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. Although some insurance companies will provide CGM coverage, Medicare denies coverage because its use is precautionary! CGM is both cost effective and medically reasonable and necessary for many Type 1 people with diabetes.

I can get by with three or four BG test strips per day IF I am using my CGM system. Otherwise my daily use would be eight or more strips. People on regular Medicare often have to file a Medicare appeal to get coverage for additional test strips.

Posted by Jerry Smith on 22 November 2012

I am an older Type 1 subject to severe hypoglycemia. I have been able to eliminate severe hypoglycemic episodes by using a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. Although some insurance companies will provide CGM coverage, Medicare denies coverage because its use is precautionary! CGM is both cost effective and medically reasonable and necessary for many Type 1 people with diabetes.

I can get by with three or four BG test strips per day IF I am using my CGM system. Otherwise my daily use would be eight or more strips. People on regular Medicare often have to file a Medicare appeal to get coverage for additional test strips.

Posted by Anonymous on 22 November 2012

In the U.S.A., Canada and most of the free world, pharmaceutical companies rule supreme and control the lives of those dependent on prescription medicine and supplies to live. And unfortunately the government won't step in to regulate because some members like the congress in US, get kickbacks and have special financial interests in looking the other way.

Posted by Anonymous on 22 November 2012

I am surprised - we have insurance through my wife's job and it seems like it changes to a new company twice a year and I have never had trouble getting enough strips for 8 tests a day which is the script my endo wrote for me. There was a time where I had no insurance and I researched for an accurate meter with cheap strips and it was 9$ for the meter and 100 strips for 35$. A lot of time has passed so I don't know what it would be like now.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 November 2012

My insurance company spends all kinds of time and money having me take surveys and tell me how I need to improve my health and yet I have to fight every time I get a prescription refilled as they continually cut the supply. Very frustrating especially when they do not even know how the insullin pump works. That is difficult to explain to them also.


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...


Username: Password:
Comment:
©1991-2014 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.