I didn't buy it, but I wrote to them and asked about it. If you write them and tell them that you don't have insurance coverage for it, they offer some special "cash deals".
Last year, these were the prices that they sent me (they might have changed since last year):
"We have a promotion going on through the end of June to get the new Seven PLUS and a free box of sensors for $799. Retail price for the Seven PLUS is $1248 and sensors retail for $399. If you pay cash, even for the sensors ongoing, the sensors per box is $275."
Long, long ago, I bought the original STS for cash and then forced my insurance to cover it after I had documented experience of better results (fewer Hypos) for several weeks of use. I Paid $399 for the kit; the old 3-days Sensors cost only $35 each. So, $799 including a box of 4 Sensors (worth $240) is roughly $500 for the kit. At that time, Dexcom didn't distinguish between buyers with insurance claims and buyers without claims, so the fact that I made them send claim information to Wellpoint/Anthem had no effect on the price. (I just needed to get the denial in place, and acquire the device, THEN submit my documentation with my later Appeal.) I was probably among their few dozen "retail" customers. ;)
Since then, I've been doing "upgrade specials" WITH insurance coverage, so I'm not like you. But I'll add a few notes to Kirsten's reply, helping you to understand the real-world costs. Because attentive people can almost always get more life from the Sensors, and the Receiver, than Dexcom and the FDA show in their literature and website, I think you'll find this useful.
First: the CASH price for Sensors is $240 per box, this is not a special. That will be your cost.
Second: if you find your own "best" Sensor spot, you will probably be able to get a lot more than 7 days per Sensor. Mine can last 15-17 days, located on a love handle (straight down from my armpit, well above my belt.) Many women find an upper butt cheek to work best (well above the chair when you sit but, stil in a meaty area on the side-- NOT near bone.) And some others find a thigh location to give the best results and last longest.
I'll SWAG that only 1/3 of people who actually try all these these "off-label" sites go back to the FDA-approved frontal abdomen locations in the manual -- 2/3 find one of the "off-label" locations to work much better. I was THRILLED when I started poking elsewhere, nearly every place on my whole body worked better than the manual-specified sites.
So, your cost for Sensors with 24x7 usage won't be $3640 (52 weeks x $70 each) -- you can probably expect to get at least 10 days from each one. (37 Sensors per year * $70 each ~= $2600.)
Third: I would offer them $700, rather than ask them what they've got. That way, you're sure to be getting the best possible price. And don't accept a higher price right away; tell them you'll need to think about it, and then call back to buy it a day or two later.
Just like a car dealership-- if you want to get their best offer right away, without 2 hours of playing around, just put your coat on and head for the door. ;)
Fourth: The rechargeable battery in the Dexcom Controller/Receiver will wear out, but you can lengthen it's life a lot by keeping it fully charged at all times. You can't overcharge the Dexcom: the chargers which they send you are "smart" chargers, they shut off and test the voltage coming from the battery every once in a while and shut down when it's full. (Even though they don't have indicator lights which change color, typically red to green, in the way the other "smart" chargers around your house. probably do.)
If you keep it above 80% charged all the time, the battery will probably last for at least 18 months. But if you frequently let it go down to showing even ONE bar of discharge (two bars still present "left"), you'll lose several months of life. Just keep a bunch of extension cords plugged in at convenient places where you frequently sit down for a while (i.e., your favorite TV couch or chair).
The other thing which will kill you on replacement cost for the Receiver unit is getting it wet. It is absolutely, totally, NOT waterproof! Leave it in a pocket and send it through the laundry, or drop it into a filled sink, and you'll be buying a new one. :((
Fifth: The transmitter. It's not rechargeable, it just works. (And actually, most users of Minimed are jealous: theirs needs frequent recharging and STILL wears out more quickly, and costs more to replace, and the entire charging process often goes "flakey".) But the one I had for the longest time, which was again the original STS, was starting to loose range after about 18 months. Do be sure to always wipe the contact-side completely clean with a dry Q-tip when you put in a new Sensor, and be absolutely sure to snap it down into BOTH clips: you do not want to waste battery power on useless short circuits.
Sensors might last 10-16 days each, after you find your best site. But more than any other diabetes device, YMMV with CGMS, so please be sure to understand this guess as a SWAG.
The "1 year" receiver should last at least 18 months if you always keep it fully charged (you can do this by plugging it in for about 40 minutes per day, instead of waiting for it to actually SHOW a missing bar and then take 2 hours to recharge it.) This is a minimum figure; it might last 2 years, or even more. But Dexcom has always created "new and improved" models and sold me upgrades before I've seen even the slightest reduction in battery capacity of a Receiver I've personally owned, I don't know the ultimate lifespan.
And the "1 year" Transmitter should last about 18 months in 24x7 usage. On this one, I have seen it begin to lose range, this really is nearing the end. I'll SWAG that it would never last for a full two years in 24x7 use.
Per the long post, you're almost certain to go through a lot of Sensors, with unsatisfactory results, at the beginning of your usage. Even for highly experienced users like me, The first 6-10 hours after the "official" two hour warmup are hardly ever as reliable as later days when you've found "your best spots".
So, especially for a person paying cash, you want to be absolutely sure that you kill and remove any Sensor which isn't performing before 30 hours has passed-- They will give you a full credit to replace it for free in your next order. First load the data from the Receiver into the DM3 software package on your PC, and leave the "bad" Sensor in while you call Support. They'll ask you to send that data to them, they'll confirm that "it sucks in comparison to all the calibration fingerstick entries", and issue the credit immediately. Now remove it and replace it (after Support has given you credit for it.)
But you DO need to keep track of the serial numbers of these Sensors as you shoot them in-- they want to enter failed Sensors into a database and check for possible manufacturing errors. Keep either the big wrapper or the smaller shoot-in mechanism, both show the lot number and serial number of the Sensor.
Never let "flaky" Sensor go past the second day: Support has to jump through hoops with bosses inclined to say "gee, she used it well into day 3 before claiming that there was anything wrong, that's not fair to us....". And after day 3, they won't refund you. If the Sensor isn't performing at a certain site, don't hope for it to magically get better more than 30 hours later-- it almost certainly won't.
- - - - -
Because the first 6-8 hours are less reliable, I actually "shoot in" my replacement Sensors the night before I make the switch (by moving the Transmitter and telling the Receiver that I'm starting a new one). The data is pretty good right away, because it's really had 15 hours to "warm up" with the local tissue in my body. If the data isn't rock-solid within just 12 hours, I declare that one "failed" and call for permission to rip it out. If you do this pre-warm-up trick, explain to Support that you've done so: They'll probably agree that just 12 hours is enough "proof" in such a case, and they'll credit it right away.
With all my practice, and using sites I know to be "great", less than 1/10th of Sensors fail for me. But even experienced users will hit a blood vessel sometimes, and once in a while the wire gets bent during the shoot-in. Sometimes you can actually see why it's failed, but most of the time you can't. You will have a much higher rate of failures during your first few weeks, so be sure to get credit for all of the Sensors which didn't work.
"Never let "flaky" Sensor go past the second day: Support has to jump through hoops with bosses inclined to say "gee, she used it well into day 3 before claiming that there was anything wrong, that's not fair to us....". And after day 3, they won't refund you. If the Sensor isn't performing at a certain site, don't hope for it to magically get better more than 30 hours later-- it almost certainly won't."
This hasn't been what I've found at all. I've found that if I call customer service with a failed sensor at day 4,5,or 6 they don't even question it and send me a new one.
That offer is supposedly good untill the end of March. Also realize there is likely to be Sales Tax on that order...
The grand total for the starter kit and first pack of sensors is about 1076.44 with tax/s and h.
Though one nice thing Dexcom will do (requires approval but its usually sign the agreement and fax it back)
is a payment plan for cash purchases of either 2 months or 3 months, first payment due when shipped)
Written By Emily Coles, TuDiabetes Community Manager. Last summer we surveyed members of TuDiabetes and EsTuDiabetes online communities, and gained some GREAT insights! We learned that our members are happy with the information and support they receive on TuDiabetes and Read on! →
Last month, I had one of the most amazing experiences I have had with technology since I have been living with diabetes. It happened at the Focus On Technology conference organized by Children With Diabetes in Los Angeles (the first Read on! →