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blood glucose meters
Posted by: wurm
Date: September 17, 2021 07:35AM
I'm not diabetic. Yet. Doc is always concerned about my blood glucose and over the years it's been creeping up. Mostly my fault, as I don't watch what I eat carefully enough. Back in '07, he suggested and I got a OneTouch Ultra meter, lancets and test strips. In those 14 years, I've refilled the strips only once and still have a nearly full box of lancets, so obviously I don't use it as often as I probably should. Point is, I plan to start using something more regularly and I'm wondering if there is a device that is recommended here, since I'm guessing things have changed a bit in nearly 15 years.

Realistically, I could just get more strips and carry on with this thing, but I figured it was worth investigating. I'm pretty sure insurance will cover most anything. I don't think I want some chip implanted just so I can use my iPhone to check. I don't need to send reports to the doc, since at this point it's still just a suggestion that I keep an eye on things. I don't really mind the finger prick that much, but if there are options, I might be open to them.

I'm seeing the doc for my annual physical in a few months and can ask him, but in the meantime, any favorites here? Thanks.
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Tiki2000
Date: September 17, 2021 08:40AM
Are you paying for it yourself or is insurance picking it up?
-If insurance, just go with their system. It will probably be the most inexpensive.
-If you are 'out-of-pocketing' it, Walmart has a $9 meter that uses strips that go for $9 per 50.

I'm using the Walmart. I have a box with (5) other meters in it. Used them all. They are basically the same operation. The only difference is their cost to operate...

YMMV
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: pdq
Date: September 17, 2021 09:29AM
I got mine basically for free at Walgreens (after rebate). I can’t recommend that one.

After getting just into “prediabetic” range, I got the meter and lost some weight (205 down to ~185). Unfortunately, my morning FBS crept up (wtf?!) and up some more until I was in the mid-to-high 120’s, which is full-on diabetes territory.

Made an appointment with my doc to discuss what to do next; he said, well, let’s do a blood draw and check.

Fasting blood sugar: under 100. A1c: normal.

Thanks, Walgreen’s cheapie meter.
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Robert M
Date: September 17, 2021 10:29AM
Wurm,

Things haven't changed all that much in 15 years. Some meters are still more accurate than others. The manufacturers still use the shaving cartridge/printer ink method of driving sales. The meter si cheap. You pay up the butt for consumables. The big difference is now you can get smart meters that have apps on your phone for tracking your glucose readings.

The model you choose will likely be dependent on whether or not your healt insurance provider will subsidize the cost of consumables. If you are using health insurance to cover the cost, you'll be better off sticking with their preferred model, even if it isn't as accurate as some of the other meters on the market.

The last time I checked which was about 2 years ago (I think), the Ascensia Contour Next One was one of the most accurate meters. It's still a current model and it's a very good meter. Accurate, works well and has a good app.

These are the others that passed the accuracy test:

Contour Next from Ascensia (formerly Bayer) – 100%
Accu-Chek Aviva Plus from Roche – 98%
Walmart ReliOn Confirm (Micro) from Arkray – 97%
CVS Advanced from Agamatrix – 97%
FreeStyle Lite from Abbott – 96%
Accu-Chek SmartView

This was reported in 2017.

[diatribe.org]

I haven't seen the same kind of evaluation since that one. As a result of that, I stuck with the Contour Next One until my insurance provider stopped subsidizing the consumables. They switched to subsidizing One Touch. So, I switched to the OneTouch Verio Flex, which has been solid. Not quite as accurate as the Contour Next One but sufficient. Both are smart meters.

My health insurance provider is going to switch come October. So, I have to wait and see which will be the preferred company. In the mean time, I'm sticking with the OneTouch Verio Flex. I've got a solid supply of finger sticks for it.

Theer are a couple of companies out there that will provider you an unlimited number of strips for their meter for a monthly fee. I can't speak for their accuracy nor the quality fo the meters. However, one might be a good option if you need a meter and must test often enough that the consumables get pricey.

Note, if you go for a dumb meter, then definitely use app like Glucose Buddy on your smartphone to track your readings. Very handy for your own purposes and nice to have when you need to give data to your doctor.

Robert
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: wurm
Date: September 17, 2021 11:24AM
Excellent info. Thank you!
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 17, 2021 11:36AM
I like the idea of keeping track of blood sugar levels even if one isn't diabetic or 'pre-diabetic' as a friend was told, until his doctor upgraded him to diabetic.


But I'll wait (long wait, I know) until Apple or somebody develops a Watch feature or band that will give even a rough idea of my blood sugar level, without a sharp being deployed to get it done.





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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: September 17, 2021 01:44PM
When you reach the point of daily checks and a dr will write the script, the Freestyle Libre is the way to go. No daily finger stabs and you can use your phone as the reader.



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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Robert M
Date: September 17, 2021 02:05PM
Ombligo,

If he is eligible for one and that is highly improbable. I'm a type 2 diabetic and have to test multiple times per day with finger sticks. I'm controlling my diabetes via diet, exercise and meds. I'm not on insulin... yet. Despite that, my doc said I'm not eligible for a continuous glucose monitor system like the Freestyle Libre or Dexcom. I have to reach the level where I need insulin before I'm eligible for one. 'course, this is to get one via insurance. I didn't bother seeing if I was eligible by purchasing the system outright. I suspect it will be prohibitively expensive.

Robert
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: September 17, 2021 09:18PM
Quote
Tiki2000
Are you paying for it yourself or is insurance picking it up?
-If insurance, just go with their system. It will probably be the most inexpensive...

That's not so.

The meters are inexpensive enough that insurance companies will almost always cover any meter your provider prescribes.

So, find yourself the highest rated one with Bluetooth to sync to your iPhone and ask your doctor to prescribe the meter, lancets and strips of your choice.

Unfortunately, that's not the end of it. My insurance company plays obnoxious games in respect of the lancets and strips, sometimes covering them almost completely and sometimes jacking up the price upwards of $150/box. If you always hit your deductible early into the year, this will not be an issue.

...I'm in a similar state, not diabetic, but monitoring. I use an Accu-Chek meter.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2021 09:19PM by Sarcany.
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Ca Bob
Date: September 17, 2021 11:20PM
I'm using the freestyle lite and the test strips are supplied by Medicare. They parcel out the strip refills depending on your level of treatment -- ie: if you are on insulin you get more.

By the way, it is possible to test by getting blood from the thigh, which is a lot less sensitive than the finger tip. Theoretically the finger stick is supposed to be better for checking low blood sugar, but that would not be your problem.
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Robert M
Date: September 18, 2021 08:01AM
Sarcany,

Insurance companies don’t always cover the meter. The few times they have for me, they covered the cost of just one meter. If you want more than one - which is useful - you have to pay out of pocket for the extras. Fortunately, meters aren’t atrociously expensive. Same situation if you need more consumables than your insurance is willing to cover. Key difference is consumables can be pricey and the test strips for one brand don’t work in meters produces by other brands. At that point, you pay the cash price and find ways to get them on the cheap.

Robert
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: September 18, 2021 08:46AM
Quote
Robert M
Sarcany,

Insurance companies don’t always cover the meter. The few times they have for me, they covered the cost of just one meter...

My insurance company covers one meter per year.

wurm already has a backup-meter.

And the cheap Walmart meter (or any generic drug store meter) is always an option for a backup-meter.

If you want one with high accuracy, Bluetooth, and the ability to sync to a good app on your phone which integrates with the Health app, you're not going to get your insurance to cover it if you don't ask for it. So, ask for it.



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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Robert M
Date: September 18, 2021 09:24AM
Sarcany,

And therein lies the problem. You're assuming all insurance companies follow suit and will cover the cost of the meter and consumables of your choice and do it yearly. That is definitely not the case. One insurance company didn't even cover the cost of the meter, just the consumables. Another covered a meter and consumables, just not the make and models that I wanted to use for my testing. It varies from provider to provider.

The cheap Walmart meter is better than nothing. This assumes the consumables are cheap, too. I've not checked it since it hasn't proven necessary. However, if you're using one make and model of smart meter and the app provider by the manufacturer, it's much easier to stick with the same when buying the extra meter. It's easier for tracking. It's easier for the consumables, since even within the same manufacturer, meters don't always use the same consumables.

I have a Very Flex at home and I have another one at my office. That way, I don't have to carry it to and from work each day. I have a third since I always have two meters (and sets of supplies) with me when I travel.

Robert



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/18/2021 09:29AM by Robert M.
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: September 18, 2021 09:31AM
Regardless, you aren't going to get the meter of your choice covered if you don't ask for the prescription and take steps to get it.

What's the big deal? Takes a phone call to the doctor's office and a 5 minute visit at the pharmacy to find out.

If it turns out they don't cover the meter you want, you can always get a cheap one. You have options.



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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: wurm
Date: September 18, 2021 10:55AM
More great info. Thank you all.
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Robert M
Date: September 18, 2021 01:49PM
Sarcany,

You missed my point, which was about your implication that a meter will be covered by insurance. That is not necessarily the case. You are correct in that it is worth inquiring, though. That's actually a good idea. If insurance isn't going to cover a meter, people might be able to get one of the more expensive feature-filled models at a reduced price from the manufacturer directly or via a program like Goodrx.

FWIW, a prescription isn't necessary if you have to pay for a meter without an insurance subsidy. Standard glucose meters (smart and dumb models) don't require a prescription. Specialized models like the continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM) and other models such as the Livongo system which aren't over the counter/off the shelf systems might require one. Some definitely require one and aren't even available with regular health insurance.

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/18/2021 09:16PM by Robert M.
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Re: blood glucose meters
Posted by: Acer
Date: September 19, 2021 09:57AM
Got nothing to add, except a classic meme to lighten the mood.
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