How To Choose The Best Glucose Meter For You
When picking a good glucose meter, there are specific features that can make your life easier when taking regular blood sugar readings at home. According to the Mayo Clinic, accuracy should quite rightly be top of the list. Some meters are known for giving readings that show blood glucose levels up to 15% higher or lower than they actually are. That variance is accepted by the Food and Drug Administration, but the more accurate readings you can get from your glucometer, the better.
Other features to look for when choosing the best glucose meter for you include:
Insurance When youre testing your blood glucose multiple times a day, the cost of test strips ramps up, so speak to your insurance provider to see what theyre prepared to cover, whether thats the full cost or a portion of it.
Ease of use Most diabetics use a glucose meter throughout the day, so choose one that is simple to use and has a lancing device size that feels more comfortable to you.
Display Large displays make it easier for you to see and read your test results quickly. Bluetooth-connected smart glucometers take this a step further by storing your readings in an app that you can view on your phone.
Spoken results If you have low vision, the best glucose meter for you is the one that speaks your blood sugar reading test results aloud.
Does Walgreens Do Diabetes Testing
Walgreens pharmacists conduct blood glucose tests with a quick fingerstick. Tests are available to people 18 and older at select stores during pharmacy hours daily with no appointment necessary. All customers getting a blood glucose test will receive a pharmacist consultation to help better understand results.
What About Medicare Coverage For Those Not On Intensive Insulin Therapy
At this time, Medicare coverage is only available to those that meet the criteria above. We feel very strongly that others at risk of hypoglycemia, especially those on sulfonylureas , should also have access to CGM. We will be working on advocacy on this front if youd like to help.
If you have other questions on Abbotts FreeStyle Libre, Dexcoms G5, and Medicare coverage,
What Does Medicare Pay For Diabetes Supplies And Services
In general, Medicare pays 80% and you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for diabetes supplies and services covered by Part B after the yearly deductible is met. Your percentage share of the cost is called coinsurance.
You may pay a coinsurance amount or a copayment for items covered by Part D. What you pay depends on the terms of your specific Part D plan.
Some services, such as medical nutrition therapy and A1C tests, may be provided at no additional cost to you.
Medicare Advantage plans cover diabetes supplies and services, too, and often additional services such as vision, dental and hearing care. The costs and items covered will depend on the specific plan you have.
When it comes to managing diabetes, be sure to review how your Medicare coverage may cover what you need. Also, your annual Medicare Wellness Visit is a great time to talk to your doctor and make sure youre up to date with preventive care services that support your diabetes care.
More Medicare Change Needed
Even with these latest changes, many see a need for more Medicare reform across the board.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, CMS eased some of their coverage restrictions temporarily including a push toward telehealth as shelter-in-place orders forced PWDs across the globe to stay at home rather than travel to clinics or doctors offices. Those revisions were extended through 2021 and have become more established.
Yet, the cost and access barriers for CGM use remain a significant burden for most PWDs, and Communities of Color who are already disproportionately hit by diabetes are even more likely to be hit by these barriers.
This is important, given that studies show how
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Easily Track Your Glucose Levels And More At Your Fingertips
Dr. Danielle Weiss is the founder of the Center for Hormonal Health and Well-Being, a personalized, proactive, patient-centered medical practice with a unique focus on integrative endocrinology. She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences.
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Daily blood sugar testing is a vital component of any successful diabetes management plan. It can help determine if you have your blood sugar under control, while also helping identify patterns that can lead to a spike or crash. It also reveals how factors like stress and exercise can impact your blood sugar, and it assists you in examining the effectiveness of any diabetes medications you may be taking.
While the frequency and cadence of your blood glucose testing depends on your specific diagnosis and your physicians recommendations, its up to you to select the glucometeror at-home blood sugar-monitoring devicethat will best support your needs.
No calibration required on test strips
Allows you to set reminder alarms
Saves pre- and post-meal glucose levels
Are There Other Options For Medicare Coverage Of Glucose Monitors
Some Medicare beneficiaries choose to receive their Original Medicare benefits through the Medicare Advantage program. Part A covers hospice care when you have a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage plans cover glucose monitors in the same way as Medicare Part B and often offer additional benefits, such as vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage. Some types of Medicare Advantage plans use provider networks, and may reduce the amounts you pay to monitor your glucose levels at home with a glucose monitor. In any case, when youre enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, youre still in the Medicare program, and must continue paying your Medicare Part B monthly premium, as well as any premium the Medicare Advantage plan may charge.
If you decide to stay with Original Medicare, another option you may have is to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan to help pay for Original Medicares out-of-pocket costs for glucose monitors and other items and services. Different Medigap plans pay for different amounts of those costs, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
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Best Glucose Meter For Cheap Test Strips
Reasons to avoid
If youre new to testing your blood glucose levels, wed recommend considering a complete kit that gives you everything you need to begin testing and to get used to what is involved. The Auvon DS-W Blood Sugar Kit is routinely flagged up as being simple to use, with high quality test strips designed to be more resistant to oxidation. However, as we have said throughout this guide, the best glucose meter for you is the one covered by your insurance.
There are over 80 user reviews on the Auvon website, but none of them state a specific date and instead just say a year ago. Together they generate a user review score of 4.1 out of 5 stars, with 66 awarding 4-stars and above. Some focus on affordability and ease of use, as well as accuracy, but some critical reviews questioned the accuracy, and how the meter requires a larger blood sample than some others. On Amazon there are over 1,470 reviews with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
The Auvon DS-W Blood Sugar Kit uses test strips made using an automatic carbon printing technique to reduce interference and boost accuracy, and there is no coding required. If buying direct from Auvon, 50 test strips costs $8.99, or $21.99 for 150.
Would You Like To Know More About Medicare Coverage Of Glucose Monitors
If you have questions about Medicare coverage for home glucose monitors, or would like more information about Medicare plan options to help you better plan for your expenses, Id be happy to discuss them with you. If youd like to schedule a phone call, or request a personalized email, click on the corresponding button below. The Compare Plans button on the page will show you some of the Medicare plan options available in your area.
The product and service descriptions, if any, provided on these Medicare.com Web pages are not intended to constitute offers to sell or solicitations in connection with any product or service. All products are not available in all areas and are subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
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New Medicare Coverage Requirements Make Cgms More Accessible
The diabetes community is celebrating a huge win! Beginning on July 18, 2021, Medicare will permanently eliminate the requirement of the four-time-daily fingerstick in order to qualify for coverage of a continuous glucose monitor .
This requirement was an unnecessary barrier for Medicare beneficiaries, delaying access to this effective technology for individuals with diabetes.
CGMs provide users with real-time, dynamic information about their blood glucose levels around the clock and alerts to prevent dangerous high or low glucose levels, leading to better diabetes management and ultimately improved health outcomes. One out of five people on Medicare have diabetes, and the elimination of the fingerstick requirement means Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes will have easier access to this critical technology.
What does this mean for you? If you already have coverage for your CGM, great! If youre looking to get one and receive your health insurance through Medicare, after July 18 there will be a simplified, fingerstick-free approval process. The out-of-pocket cost for your CGM will depend on a few factors, like what your Medicare benefit plan looks like, where youll get your device, etc. Talk to your doctor and a Medicare representative to determine what it will cost for you.
What Is Hypoglycemia
When your blood sugar is low, you experience hypoglycemia. Diabetics are at a high risk for hypoglycemia because of the medications they take to keep their glucose levels down. Since your body either doesnt produce insulin or doesnt produce enough insulin, you have to be careful to not let your glucose levels get too high.
This means you either take medications or limiting the carbohydrates in your diet. Diabetes is largely a balancing act of trying to keep your glucose from going too high while also making sure it doesnt get too low.
Here are some of the common symptoms of hypoglycemia:
- An irregular heart rhythm
- Tingling sensation around the mouth
- Crying out during sleep
Severe hypoglycemia results in confusion, abnormal behavior, visual disturbances, seizures and, ultimately, unconsciousness.
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How To Learn More
- For more information on all of the options available under Medicare, visit: www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE . Also look for the Medicare and You handbook which Medicare mails to beneficiaries in the fall and is available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE .
- To read more about Medicare coverage of diabetes services and supplies, go to .
- For information from Medicare on how individuals might be able to get help paying Medicare costs visit www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/help-paying-costs/get-help-paying-costs.html or call 1-800-MEDICARE .
- Free health insurance counseling and personalized assistance for Medicare beneficiaries is available in every state through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program . Call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit www.shiptacenter.org to find the telephone number of the SHIP office closest to you.
What Are The Key Differences Between The Medicare Version Of Freestyle Libre And G5
These product differences will change over time some potentially this year. For instance, Dexcoms next-gen G6 is currently under FDA review, with plans to launch before the end of 2018. It is currently under review for one fingerstick calibration per day and 10-day wear, but FDA discussions are also underway for a no-calibration version. Meanwhile, Dexcoms next-next-gen sensor with Verily requires no calibration, will be fully disposable, and last 10 or 14 days. Abbott is currently developing a next-gen FreeStyle Libre as part of its Bigfoot partnership, which will add continuous communication to the FreeStyle Libre sensor. Wed guess it could add alarms too, but this is speculation on our part.
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What The Experts Say
According to advice published by the American Diabetes Association, blood sugar testing is vital to check that your blood glucose levels stay in a healthy range. If glucose levels get too low, we can lose the ability to think and function normally. If they get too high and stay high, it can cause damage or complications to the body over the course of many years.
To ensure you choose the best glucose meter for your needs, the American Association of Diabetes Educators recommends considering whether the following features are helpful to you:
- A high contrast display if you have low vision, or a meter that speaks results
- Lancet function and needle removal if you have a dexterity condition
- Portability for taking readings multiple times a day
- Smartphone app connectivity
- A bolus calculator
- Approved for Alternate Site Testing
Susan Stauffer, BSN, RN, CDE, diabetes educator and nurse clinician at UCHealth Diabetes and Medical Nutrition Therapy in Fort Collins, Colorado, also highlights how insurance and the cost of test strips should factor in your decision: The most important factor for people who routinely check their blood sugar is insurance coverage. Whether you use the Walmart Prime, the Freestyle lite or the Contour Next One, it is insurance coverage that rules. Some strips cost $18 for 100 and some will cost $150 for 100.
Contour Next Ez Glucose Meter
A basic glucometer that focuses on accuracy, not gimmicks
Reasons to avoid
The Contour Next EZ Glucose Meter is primarily aimed at beginners or those who dont want a lot of fuss of high-end features when testing their blood sugar levels at home.
As such, its very simple in its design and what it offers, and while this isnt necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that you should look elsewhere in our best glucose meters guide if you want smart connectivity or sensors.
The Next EZ Glucose Meter requires you a small blood sample in order to read your blood glucose levels, and returns results within five seconds. A lancing device and replaceable lancets are included with this blood sugar monitor kit, as well as test strips, though you will soon need to buy new strips.
There are over 140 user reviews of the Contour EZ Glucose Meter on Walmart, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. 106 of those of 5-star reviews. So the majority of customers are highly praising, though a few reported not having any test strips in the box.
The cost of these ranges depending on where you shop, but Contour offers a loyalty scheme that could give you access to bigger savings when buying direct. Speak to your insurance provider to see what they will cover.
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Best Glucose Meters: The Different Types
Currently, there are three main types of glucose meter:
- Basic blood glucose meters
- Continuous glucose monitors
- CGM-Insulin Pump Combos
The most simple glucometers are handheld devices with a digital screen that displays a reading, and these are the devices were mostly focusing on with our guide to the best glucose meters. These readings are gathered from disposable blood sugar test strips treated with specific chemicals that react to glucose. A new test strip is inserted into the glucometer for each new reading.
Standard glucometers are usually battery operated and capable of storing readings, and many can be connected to a computer so that you can download and store your readings to look back on as needed.
Some basic blood glucose meters are designed with a spring-loaded needle that pricks the side of your fingertip to draw a small drop of blood for testing. Others use an external lancing device.
Once blood is drawn, you touch it to the test strip, which will absorb your blood sample and display a reading on the glucometers screen. While response times vary between blood sugar monitors, were usually talking seconds.
Some glucose meters are approved for Alternate Site Testing . That means they give results within 20% of correct values when used on alternative sites such as the palm, forearm or thigh. However, Diabetes Self Management advises that, you should still check alternate site readings on yourself before trusting them too much.
Resources For People With Diabetes
Diabetes.org: The American Diabetes Association is the online authority on diabetes. If you or a loved one have diabetes, becoming a member is a great idea. The association is devoted to education, prevention, community and meal planning.
Diabetes Forecast: A partner of The Healthy Living Magazine, this resource includes consumer guides on diabetes products and medicines, as well as recipes and tips for taking care of the psychological impacts of living with diabetes.
diaTribe: Excellent resource for finding the latest academic studies on diabetes and clinical trials currently underway, including how you might be able to take part in the trials.
DiabeticGourmet: A website and magazine of diabetic-friendly recipes, diet tips and resources. You can register for free and keep track of your favorite recipes, connect with others on a forum, and receive tips for better management.
Diabetes Food Hub: A partner of the American Diabetes Association, this website is devoted to providing diabetic-friendly recipes and meal planning.
Beyond Type 1: A community of over 2 million people in over 150 countries. This website features programs, stories and news on Type 1 diabetes.
John Hopkins Patient Guide to Diabetes: One of the most comprehensive online resources for diabetes articles, news, terminology, treatments and tools.
Diabetes Exercise News & Organization: A resource for exercise-related articles to help with home-monitoring, recognizing symptoms and managing complications.
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