Every penny counts: saving on the cost of test strips
When it comes to diabetes testing supplies, costs can add up. That's especially true of test strips, which are easily one of the most expensive aspects of living with diabetes. Test strips for the most common brands of meters traditionally run roughly between 44 cents and $1 dollar per strip. If you are paying an average of 75 cents per strip and testing the standard four times per day, that's $21 dollars per week. Over the course of a year, you could pay $1,092 for test strips -- and that doesn't include the times you test more often due to illness, hypoglycemia and the like. Unfortunately, your insurance company might not cover all of the cost.
How do you find the best deals on test strips? Start with comparison shopping.
The cost of test strips: How do top brands compare?
Traditionally speaking, the top brands of blood glucose meters have all the latest features, bells and whistles, such as no-code strips, multi-day and month averages, flagging for meals and small blood sample size requirements. But how do the test strips compare?
ReliOn is a very popular brand among the budget-conscious. Their strips cost approximately $20 dollars for a pack of 50, making them among the cheapest on the market. The meters themselves are affordable at less than $20 dollars each.
Other popular brands might charge a bit more for test strips but offer more advanced meters. Strips for the OneTouch and Accu-Chek meters could cost as little as 20 cents per strip, depending upon the retailer. The Bayer Contour is more expensive, usually just under one dollar per strip. Test strips for Freestyle meters tend to run just over one dollar per strip. Some more affordable options include Advocate test strips, which can be as low as eight cents per test when purchased through discount retailers. The Embrace from Omnis Health and Element meter from Infopia are also among the cheapest on the market.
Keep in mind that just about every meter can see significant price differences, depending upon where you buy. For instance, on February 7, 2012, the cost of a box of 100 Bayer Breeze 2 test strips was approximately $48 at Amazon.com, approximately $50 at American Diabetes Wholesale and just over $100 at Walmart.com. Always shop around to find the best deals for test strips each time you buy.
How to save money on test strips
Once you have compared meters (and their test strips) to find the one that is right for you, pursue even greater savings by looking for discounts. Companies, such as Abbott and Bayer, occasionally make coupons available for those who subscribe to email lists or faithfully buy their products. Look for coupons in diabetes magazines, watch the company website for promotions, pick up discount cards at diabetes trade shows and ask your doctor about samples.
What about those amazing low prices at auction sites? Buyer beware: The accuracy of these strips could be questionable. If one batch of strips works just fine, that doesn't mean the next batch will. To be certain of your results, stick to name-brand test strips, make sure they are well within the expiration date and keep them at the optimum conditions as recommended by the manufacturer.
Consumer Reports, "How to Choose a Blood Glucose Meter"
Mens Health, "The Ten Best Blood Glucose Meters"