How can I get cheap glucose testing strips? Is there any low income aid?
May 3, 2014 3:09 PM   Subscribe

I am a 58 year old diabetic woman. The strips I use for a glucometer on ebay example link here are about 50 cents each, it's the cheapest I've found. Occasionally I even buy a whole new glucometer, because it comes with "free strips", and then I throw away the glucometer when I'm done. I'm willing to use expired, or soon to expire strips, or any off brand generic, or what about reusable strips? What is the cheapest way for me to test my sugar? I test my sugar about 5 times a day. I am willing to order online, and I am also low income, if there is any income based support I usually qualify.
posted by kikithekat to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Glucometers are like razors, testing strips are like blades: the makers are very willing to hand out free/cheap meters, but it's rare to find any offers on strips.

In the US, there's a grey market in diabetes supplies, in all senses of the word: what you'll see on eBay are... well, let's say they often look like they're the spares of Medicare-age patients who don't have the same testing needs, or don't have to contend as much with insurance limits or out-of-pocket costs.

So: eBay if you're paying out of pocket, or see if there's an active diabetes support group in your area. Exchanging spare supplies is pretty common among them, whether it's because insurance changes mean people have to get a new glucometer and old strips are no longer needed, or because they have more generous insurance, or because they have endocrinologists who have a fully-stocked sample cupboard. JDRF will probably have a local liaison who may be worth contacting to put you in touch with those kinds of groups.
posted by holgate at 3:26 PM on May 3, 2014

37c at, $20 for 100 + ? postage to you on, cheap ones on Amazon, bulk possibilities on, -- I'm not familiar with the strips; forgive me if I've linked to anything useless. But buying direct from China is usually a pretty good way to go for small cheap stuff you need in quantity.
posted by kmennie at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2014

Wal-mart has a glucometer RELION PRIME ($16.24) and the strips that you use with it are $9 for 50 each. That is .18 cents each. These are over the counter in the health section of the store. Can order online too.

Tested this next to One Touch Ultra and got same reading on both, so I feel very confidant these are good quality.
posted by just asking at 3:39 PM on May 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thanks "just asking" 18 cents each is the cheapest I've seen so far!
posted by kikithekat at 4:02 PM on May 3, 2014

My wife is a Type 1, and in particularly tight financial times we have bought strips off of Ebay. She never had any problems with them.
posted by COD at 4:21 PM on May 3, 2014

You didn't say whether or not you have health insurance, but if you do, you can usually get your doctor to write a prescription for them and then the insurance may pay for them.
posted by tamitang at 5:16 PM on May 3, 2014

If there is a medical center near you, they should have a social worker who is very familiar with ways to help people get supplies for their diabetes. That would be the resource I'd check with for this question.

While you're there, check and see if they have a medical equipment donation program. There are a lot of folks in other parts of the world who could use the glucometers you're throwing away.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:03 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

this may be obvious, but look at amazon. i've found them on there for cheaper than on ebay or diabeteswarehouse. it depends on the day and seller, you just have to be vigilant.

and for sure if you have insurance you may be able to get them to pay for some of your diabetes supplies. check your policy and then check with your doctor. there will likely be various forms to fill out and then you will only be able to get the crappy brand your insurance covers, but they will be free or very close to free.

also, check around to see if there are any certified diabetes educators around you. they have boxes of stuff. a few sessions may be helpful to you if you are newly diagnosed and free strips!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:42 PM on May 4, 2014

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