Your insurance cares about you
You know what I told her?
I told her that if Pres really gave a shit about my health they wouldn’t cap me at 100 test strips per month, which only allows me to test three times per day on most days. I told her that, as I’m sure her records show, I’m a Type-1 Diabetic on two kinds of insulin. I should be testing at an absolute minimum of eight times per day to stay healthy; and more times if I feel the need.
If Pres really cared about my health they’d give me the tools that would allow me to take care of myself; instead of spending the money on phone advice.
Now you are probably wondering why I care, three strips per day is what it takes to keep my CGM calibrated. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that CGM, while it has come a loooooooooooong way, isn’t perfect yet. You’d be a fool to put it totally in the driver’s seat. You still need finger sticks for therapy adjustments. How many per day? Depends on how good your control is and how hypo prone you are. Don’t forget that the better your control (which keeps you out of the dialysis center in the long run) the thinner the ice under your feet. D-folk with really good control have more hypos. People with really good control need more strips to maintain that control in safety. CGM is an indispensable tool for me, but I’m not ready to kick my test strips to the curb just yet.
More on test strips. They cost $1 each at retail. There are no generic alternatives. There are no patient assistance programs (well, one company will give you a coupon for 20% off if you are really poor). So that works out to…. eighty cents per strip, times four per day, times 365 days in a year… more than a thousand bucks. That’s well more than most really poor people could afford, even if it were their only out-of-pocket cost for diabetes.
Test strips are universally under-provided by insurance companies, especially for anyone on insulin. The big insurers take a page from Medicare who will only cover ONE STRIP PER DAY for folks on oral meds (including hypo-prone agents like Glipizide) and only THREE STRIPS PER DAY for folks on insulin. I’ve got CGM and I can’t control my diabetes on three strips per day.
Hypocrite alert: yeah, I know I questioned the utility of test strips for patients on orals a while back, but my over-flowing email inbox has convinced me that most patients on orals benefit from testing.
All of this proves that your health insurance really cares about you…. so long as you are one of their shareholders.