What to Consider Before Buying a Glucometer

Questions to Consider Before Buying a Glucometer

Will Your Insurance Cover the Cost?

You don't need a prescription to purchase glucometers, test strips or lancets; you can buy them over the counter. But because the long-term costs of these supplies can be high, many insurance plans cover the meters and test strips. Co-pays and coverage may vary, so you should contact your insurance provider and talk to your doctor.

FORA TN'G VoiceFORA TN'G VoiceThe one downside of using insurance to offset some of the costs is that your plan often dictates which brands you can use. This is one of the most common complaints because, too often, the only glucometer brands approved by insurance providers have very expensive test strips.

Medicare Part B covers some of these supplies, including test strips, with a 20 percent Medicare-approved co-pay. However, this requires that your physician and pharmacy be enrolled with Medicare.

How often will you be testing?

The answer to this question depends on which type of diabetes you have, as type 1 diabetes generally requires more frequent testing than type 2,  as well as your doctor's recommendation. Again, because we are not medical professionals, we cannot tell you how often you should test. But if you are testing multiple times a day, that should be a factor when you're choosing a glucometer, because over time, that will amount to a much larger cost in test strips compared with testing once per day. If you're testing only once a day, the cost of strips may be less important.

Where will you purchase your test strips?

FORA Test N'GoFORA Test N'GoDo you prefer to order your strips online, or would you rather go to a pharmacy and pick up a box at your convenience? The availability of strips should be a consideration if you have a particular preference. You should also consider purchasing in bulk to decrease the cost per strip and ensure you don't run out. We also recommend setting some sort of reminder to tell you when to reorder.

How much can you afford on strips per month?

OneTouch Ultra 2OneTouch Ultra 2If you test multiple times a day, the cost of test strips can really add up. For example, if you test four times daily, you will go through 120 test strips in 30 days. While a few pennies may not seem like a big deal, a difference of 50 cents per strip equals out to $60 per month and $720 per year. If you are on a fixed income or limited budget, it's important to consider how much your test strips will cost monthly and annually.

What size meter and test strips work best for you?

AgaMatrix Presto ProAgaMatrix Presto ProWhile all glucometers are handheld, some are smaller and easier to manage. However, these compact designs also mean the display and numbers are generally smaller as well. And although all test strips are small, they can vary in size as well. If you have limited dexterity, you may want to consider a larger glucometer that utilizes bigger test strips.

How many readings do you want to store on the device?

FORA Test N'GoFORA Test N'GoIt's important to keep track of your glucose readings to rule out certain factors if you have an unexpected spike. Some glucometers save as few as 300 readings, automatically deleting the oldest data when the device is full, which means there's less information for tracking patterns. If pattern management is important to you, consider a glucometer with a larger storage capacity. Or, better yet, choose a Bluetooth-compatible model that syncs to an app on your smartphone, like the FORA TN'G, so that limited memory won't be an issue.

Do you want your meter to sync to an app?

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As mentioned above, some glucometers sync to an app, whether by Bluetooth to your smartphone or via a wired connection to your computer. Apps allow you to store and track readings, log meals and even calculate your insulin needs. Not all brands offer apps, so consider this feature if data management is important to you.