This seems to be a question that many of us with insurance and without ask ourselves. Then we cut back on testing or give up completely. Here are some ideas and if they help you out GREAT, if you can add some more, even better. I know that no one likes to "beg" but this is our health we are talking about, So I have learned to be a good "beggar". I've explained to my Doc that I can't afford to purchase strips in the quantities that I test for each day 3 x a day,. She was writing for only once a day because she figured "I was in control" So one month, I had some highs and lows,not planned but used up my allotment of strips....she sticks my meter into the computer to get the read outs and there were 10 days that showed I hadn't tested.....she was upset...I explained to her that if I have a low, for example, I am going to test again and again, until I know I am in a good range, the same for a high....if all she is giving me is 30 strips, that may mean, I don't test at all for 3 - 5 days. THE LIGHT WENT ON!!!!
1. However, the "begging" comes when a person runs out of strips, ask the nurses for samples of strips they get from reps,
2. Call your local cde or diabetic consult person, ask if they have strips they can give you
3. Call the local hospital and do the same thing
4. Diabetic Association in your area may have samples
5. Call your meter's manufacterer and ask for strips.
We can't be too proud about this. It's our health and if nothing else WE ARE TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES,
I have friends who have called their senators and representatives and explained their situation and gotten a voucher for strips....to me that's bravery.
My insurance allows me to have 100 test strips per month. that was fine when I was on MDI, because I could control when I tested, usually about three each day. Now I am using a pump. the pump controls my test schedule. If I am having a good control day, I need to, ideally, test about six to seven times per day. I usually don't test that often,but four to five tests per day is normal. I test more if I am having control issues.
What I do is ether buy strips from Animas directly, which is the cheapest, or go to WalMart to buy strips. They cost about $1.38 each at WalMart. They cost about $1.14 from Animas, including shipping. They cost about $1.65 each from Walgreens. Walgreens seems to be a rpp-off, but that is wehre my prescriptions are filled. I am happy to have the resources to buy strips as needed.
My Doctor has rx'ed 14/ day (long story...) but Blue Cross seems to be constantly trying to "chip away" at what they ship, last year, it was 450/ month, this year they trimmed it to 400, no explanation. I also ran out, pretty significantly, during the "new year do you still have diabetes NO %$&# SHERLOCK!" debate that annoys me about them every year. This time, I bought a box out of pocket and then had a doctor's appointment and explained I was running out and she gave me a bunch. It was very nice of her but I get EXTREMELY angry at this situation.
I don't like an insurance company rewriting prescriptions at all, particularly as they don't provide any sort of EOB which I think is a pretty clear violation of the state insurance regulations, with which I'm not totally unfamiliar, as I work in Property and Casualty Insurance. It may be that their "Medicare allows 4 strips/ day" is the only explanation their legal department needs but, at the same time, it is extremely bothersome and seems to exist for no other reason that for them "to cut back" for money reasons which, in the long run?
Part of me thinks that a class action suit would be the only way to really resolve the Tolstoyan question of "how many strips do people with diabetes need? If they are concerned about "the grey market", it would probably be more effective to just cover strips to devalue "extras" but, of course, I'm not sure what their thought process is since they don't feel the need to explain themselves to me? The medical community says stuff like "you should test before you drive" and "everyone needs to exercise and people with diabetes should test before they exercise..." but they don't support what they say which doesn't make any sense to me. The goal should be to have people test as much as they need. I think that it's around 12-14 times/ day for reasonable control and I've been able to achieve decent control with that, along with a fairly active lifestyle which, the last time I checked, was protected by the Constitution?
I think the question at hand gets to the very heart of the discussion about healthcare and costs that we are having today. I agree, AcidRock, that it is just wrong for the insurance companies to rewrite prescriptions just because they can provide coverage without spending as much money. Business is in business to make money. Insurance companies make money, and they do whatever is necessary to make money. That does not necessarily include with their insured patient's well-being. For example, I am allowed 100 strips in a 30 day period. My insurance company believes that is sufficient for decent diabetic control and will not allow more. If I want more, I have to buy them on the open market. My insurance company decided that I would be served well with Novolog insulin. Novolog doesn't work as well for me as Apidra, and my endo had to write several letters to that effect in order for me to get Apidra, and it still remains an expensive co-pay. What does my insurance company know about my insulin need?
I feel sorry for those who do not have insurance to deal with these very high profit generating costs of insurance, health care, medications and accessories. This is why the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 is so important. I am grateful for the insurance coverage that I have, as it is very good. It is also very expensive. I would certainly hate to be a diabetic and wonder where my next vial of insulin or my next box of test strips were coming from. Business has the right to make a reasonable and sure profit. I is poor business to price themselves into a place where only the wealthy can afford their goods and service without provision for those who are on a budget. Having said this, I think that industry does a pretty good job of providing insulin and supplies to diabetics who cannot afford them. What bothers me is that health care should be between the patient and the doctor, not the patient, insurance company and the doctor.
Enough of this rant. I believe the topic was test strips.
Actually, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate through whom I'm insured (HCSC...) is a non-for-profit organization. Which, to me, makes their position stranger? They should want me to be in good shape for test strips. I have been feuding with them every year for maybe 10-15 years now, including some rather heated conversations when I get a bit wound up, or they tell me "we don't have a fax machine..." and other bizarre garbage of that nature. I think that it's fairly clear that despite the ridiculous (and, perhaps, overpriced?) cost of test strips, they are extremely cheap in comparison with even testing for complications? If I am complication free (not entirely, there's a few little things that, so far, I'm just observing...), then I'm comfortable inferring that the test strips are "worth the price" and should be provided for everyone? If I and other people who are arguing for lots of strips get them, how many people are ill-served, whether by their doctors or insurance companies or a sinister consortium thereof to not test enough which, I suspect, would lead to a higher probability of unpleasant and expen$ive complications?
I know this discussion is about test strips. However, you really touched an inflamed nerve about not-for-profit corporations. Most mutual insurance companies are not-for profit. Fact of the matter is, profit is what they do, in the form of investments, over-paid boards and CEOs, posh quarters, etc. A not-for profit clinic and hospital in town announced yesterday that they are building a new 360 million dollar facility. That's right, $360,000,000. Who pays for this stuff? Answer: You and me. Yet, insurance companies can give 50 extra boxes of strips to one person and not enough to most others. Not-for-profit? That is what they say, and it looks that way to the IRS, but I don't think so.
I agree! The profit doesn't go to the corporation but staff and lobbyists.
Also when you get a WTF reading that requires more than one test: 210...98...105 to determine what your actual number is. I don't think a lot of doctors or insurance companies understand how inaccurate the meters can be.
Hopefully one of the non-invasive meters come out in the next couple of years. I'd bet the insurance companies would love to see it happen as much as we would.
I guess im lucky when it comes to test strips i currently have 29 boxes of one ultra test strips 50 per box. My insurance covers them all i don't have to pay for them. I've had so many test strips that once i had to throw out like 20 boxes because they expired. I have really good insurance, im lucky
but that doesn't make sense either? To me, an advanced, industrial civilization should be able to provide the correct amount of test strips and you shouldn't have to throw out $1K worth of strips? That's ridiculous? At the same time, if you tell them "you know, I only need (x-2) strips/ month, not x..." they will use it against you and cut you down? It astonishes me how idiotic the planners at insurance companies are about things like this?
our Patient Assistance page may help
also, there are places you can donate new unused supplies