If you’re managing diabetes, you can save money by following a few savvy tips.
Glucose test strips cost anywhere from $0.40 to more than a dollar each. Many people wonder why test strips cost so much.
Manufacturers use enzymes, precious metals, chemicals, and other supplies to make test strips. Also, they must build and maintain manufacturing plants and spend money on advertising and marketing.
Manufacturing and marketing activities cost a lot of money. However, medical equipment manufacturers recoup those costs over time. After they do, it only cost him about $0.15 to make a testing strip.
Why Do Glucose Test Strips Cost So Much?
Diabetes testing strips are about the size of a human fingernail. Over 3 million United States citizens have type I or type II diabetes. Most people who physicians have diagnosed with diabetes use several strips a day to monitor and manage their condition.
The sale of testing strips is a multibillion-dollar industry. The final cost to consumers is due to negotiations between testing strip manufacturers and insurance companies.
Manufacturers often set a high price for testing strips, then offer a steep discount to the insurance company’s preferred medical equipment suppliers. However, consumers that pay most or all the cost of glucose test strips in cash end up footing a hefty bill.
The following steps outline how you can save as much as possible on diabetes testing strips.
1. Apply for Financial Assistance
Some manufacturers and organizations offer financial assistance to help patients pay for testing strips. Financial assistance programs are typically for people with partial or no insurance and a limited income.
In recent years, manufacturers have moved away from offering this kind of assistance. Now, manufacturers are more focused on insured patients.
Industry watchdogs have yet to uncover an apparent reason for this change. However, many believe the shift in focus is due to the millions of people who now have insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Now, a much larger segment of the population has access to health insurance. As a result, manufacturers have turned their attention to capturing their share of newly insured consumers.
2. Check With Local and National Organizations
Uninsured and low-income patients who don't qualify for financial assistance can turn to nonprofit organizations for help. Some groups may help you cover the expense of test strips, while others will point you toward programs that help with medical costs.
For example, the CR3 Diabetes Association collects unexpired test strips, diabetes supplies, and insulin pumps. If you are underinsured, uninsured, or earn less than $60,000 annually, you may qualify for a refurbished pump or discounted test strips through the organization.
Other organizations in your area made provide similar services. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about other local programs.
3. Network for Savings
You can find out how to save on test strips by networking. You can start by talking with a certified diabetes educator.
Diabetes educators are aware of most of the discounts available for test strips. It’s their job to know about the latest testing equipment and discounts.
Also, attend events that support diabetes patients. Often, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and other diabetes equipment suppliers attend these functions to promote their products and services.
If you're lucky, you may attend an event where manufacturers are giving out free meters, samples, or discount coupons. The American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research foundation websites provide listings of local events.
4. Make Your Supply Last Longer for Emergencies
For years, there’s been an ongoing debate about whether diabetes patients should use expired strips. Manufacturers coat the tip of a diabetes strip with enzymes that break down blood so that your meter can take a reading.
With exposure to heat, humidity, and time, the activity of those enzymes can diminish. This deterioration can alter the accuracy of your reading. If you don’t store your strips properly, they can even go bad before the expiration date.
A faulty reading can cause a life-threatening diabetes management decision. As a last resort, and if you’ve stored your strips properly, you might continue to use your strips for up to 30 days.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Try not to over order strips so that they don’t expire.
5. Check With Your Insurer
Your insurance may cover the cost of testing strips. Call your provider and find out if they provide coverage. Getting coverage for your diabetes testing supplies may be as simple as switching to a preferred manufacturer.
Medicare covers some diabetes testing supplies, such as testing strips and durable medical equipment (DME). If your supplier accepts Medicare, you'll only have to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount of your equipment. Also, your doctor and suppliers must enroll in Medicare to qualify for claim payments.
6. Find If Equipment Manufacturer Offers a Free or Discounted Strips
You can check with your glucose meter company to find out if they offer a discount. Many companies offer a discount card to help you pay for testing supplies. Typically, the company phone number is located somewhere on your meter.
For example, Accu-Check offers a program that allows diabetes patients without insurance to save on testing supplies. Once you become a member of the Accu-Check program, you’ll always pay the same price for glucose testing strips, according to the manufacturer.
You can join the club by filling out the questionnaire at www.simplepaysave.com. When you’re ready to buy testing supplies, simply show your pharmacist your membership card.
Choose a Supplier That Puts Your Needs First (H3)
The right pharmacist can save you time and money on glucose test strips. For example, a SaveRight Medical subscription can save you 5% off all your orders.
The SaveRight Medical subscription is your solution for making diabetes management a little easier. There’s no need to overpay for test strips to manage an already challenging condition.
Visit Save Rite Medical to find out how to save money, time, and worry when stocking up on testing strips.