costs & insurance

The Scoop On Finding Cheap Test Strips and Meters

Ann Bartlett Health Guide August 24, 2009
  • I have always had the luxury of health insurance and I'm eternally grateful for that, but many times when I read comments left on blogs, my heart aches for those people who suffer the burden of paying for their diabetes supplies out of pocket!   I will admit the feeling of being covered is worth every penny.

     

    David's recent blog focused on a new meter and many of the comments that were left asked how to pay for test strips.  Blood sugar testing is the most important factor in taking action against diabetes complications! 

     

    That said, I thought I would do a little market research for where to find the cheapest test strips on the Internet and in local stores.  Using my One Touch Ultra Mini as the model for comparison, and Consumer Reports to compare accuracy and dependability factors, I sat at my computer for 4 days looking up cheap test strips.  Let's just say that I had no idea what I was getting into, but I felt sick with what I saw as marketing for "cheap" test strips, as many were anything but cheap!

     

    Just for your information, Consumer Reports Health ratings for most accurate, consistent and easy to use meters, 1= most favored, 10 = least favored by CR standards:

     

    Meter

    Price Per Strip

    1. One Touch Ultra Mini   

    $1.14

    2. Ascensia Contour  

    $1.10

    3. One Touch Ultra2    

    $1.14

    4. ReliOn Ultima (WalMart) *CR ranked as best buy

    $0.44

    5. One Touch UltraSmart

    $1.14

    6. Nova Max  

    $0.96

    7. Freestyle Lite 

    $1.30

    8. Accu-Chek Aviva

    $1.10

    9. Freestyle Freedom

    $1.30

    10. Duo-Care - blood glucose/blood pressure

    $0.90

    11. Ascensia Breeze 2 

    $1.10

    12. True Track (drugstore chain label)

    $0.60

     

     

    Since we know accuracy is under scrutiny, I think it best to rely on your own feelings for what works best for you!

     

    Of the twenty sites I browsed, Amazon.com had the cheapest test strips for most meters and meter prices were lower as well. My local Rite Aid pharmacy could not compete. A box of One Touch 50 ct strips was $58.99.

     

    Amazon.com:

    One Touch Ultra 50 Ct-$24.00

    One Touch Ultra Mini Blood Glucose Monitor ran about $11.00-$16.00

     

    I have an Amazon Prime account, which is an added charge at the beginning of the year.  With that, I get free shipping on all items.  I generally order enough stuff from Amazon that it was worth the cost!  You may want to consider your diabetes costs and shipping charges, but from just a strip cost, this was by far the best deal I could find.

     

    WalMart:

    One Touch Test Strips 50ct were $57.23...BUT their ReliOn meter was a deal to consider:

    ReliOn Ultra thin was a $9.00 investment for the meter, and ReliOn 50 ct test strips for $20.00, Walgreen had the same deal as Walmart, but the strips were more expensive. Walgreen True Go for $9.00, and their test strips 50 ct $39.99.

     

    eBay had One Touch Ultra Blood Glucose Test strips 50 ct for $22.50.  Another 50ct was $5.28.  You do have to realize you are bidding and the price may go up.  But a deal probably can be found on eBay if you are patient.

  •  

    Some places I shopped online: 

     

    Minipharmacy.net - One Touch Ultra test strips 50 ct- $55.50 (that's not a typo!)

     

    Allegromedical.com - One Touch Ultra Test Strips- 50 ct-$36.95


    ADW American Diabetes Wholesale - One Touch Ultra Test Strips 50ct- $46.99

     

    Health-and-beauty.become.com - One Touch Ultra Test strips- $33.33

    This site lists whose selling what and for what price. I did not find any real bargains.

     

    It is important to throw out your meter after about a year to maintain consistency.  I realize consistency has been under scrutiny, but that doesn't mean, "don't test!"  And, since we are stuck until the pharmaceuticals can fix the accuracy of meters, we need to replace them at least once a year if not more. 

     

    I have been married to the One Touch because of my Medtronic pump, but now I'm on my pump vacation and I see Dr. Huang in a couple of weeks.  I like the Freestyle Lite with the backlight and a test strip port lite. Could have used that at the movies tonight!  And for those nighttime tests when I need them, which are not that often, this would be extremely useful!  If you know more deals out there please share!