Tips for Finding Affordable Testing Supplies

Contact Your Insurance Company

Ask which meter brand your insurance company prefers.

Got a free meter from a friend or a promotional offer? Great. But if the strips aren't a preferred brand on your insurance plan, you may be paying more for the strips than you need to. Always make sure you're using a preferred brand.

Ask if your strips and testing supplies are covered under the prescription benefit or under the durable medical equipment (DME) company benefit. This will guide you to the location were you will get the supplies covered.

  • If supplies are covered under the prescription benefit, then choose a pharmacy.
  • If supplies are covered under the durable medical equipment benefit, then choose a DME.

Consider Mail Order Pharmacies

Your insurance plan may discount your co-pay if you go through a mail order pharmacy to buy test strips.

Shop Around for the Best Deals in Town

Prices may vary on certain brands at different pharmacies.  

Certain retail pharmacies may also carry lower-cost glucometers and strips (such as the ReliOn and TrueTrack glucometers), whose strips are typically 50 percent less than that of name-brand strips.

Check out the Diabetes Forecast magazine's annual Consumer’s Guide.

Ask Your Primary Care Physician How Often You Need to Test

If you are not on insulin, you may not need to test more than once per day, or even every day. 

Or your primary care physician may only need you to test three times per day and not six. Make sure you are not paying for extra strips.

Make Sure Your Prescription is for the Correct Number of Strips and Meter Brand

If your physician has written for 21 days worth of strips, you end up paying for the rest of the month's supply out of your own pocket. That cost can add up! 

Having the correct number of strips on the prescription means that the whole month's supply will only cost you one copay.

Look into Discount Programs Directly from the Meter Manufacturer

Many companies offer discounts on strip co-pays or free/reduced-price meters. Compare these programs to your insurance benefits and see what works best for you financially. Some restrictions do apply so don't forget to read the fine print:

  • Accu-Chek: Free Accuchek Nano glucometer
  • BGStar: 10 free strips
  • ReliOn: 50 strips for $9, available only at Wal-Mart
  • OneTouch: Free One Touch Verio IQ Meter
  • FreeStyle: Free Freestyle glucometer, $15 co-pay for strips
  • Contour: Save up to $35 per month on Bayer test strip copay

Patients Covered Under Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B patients can obtain free testing supplies to test once daily if they are not treated with insulin, and three times per day if they are treated with insulin. 

If you test more frequently than those amounts, your primary care physician needs to document why you need to test more. Your provider can then attempt to override that requirement. It is not always successful.

See “Navigating the Medicare Maze to Save Money on Blood Sugar Testing Supplies!” for additional information.

Medication Assistance Programs may also be Available

As always, make sure you discuss any change in your testing habits or glucometer brand with your primary care physician. 

Diabetes control should never be sacrificed for financial reasons, so make sure you are putting the time in to find the best deals. This may take some time on the phone with your insurance company or online to scope out pharmacy prices and promotional offers. 

The savings will be worth it, both financially and medically.

If you know of other promotional offers or discounts not included here, please send us an email and let us know.