Thursday, November 29, 2018

PSA for Diabetics

Bill Crawford cited the high cost of diabetic testing strips as an example of  the rationing of health care due to high prices.  However, a simple read of the source he used would have shown a different story. Here is the original passage about the WWII Vet:

For the past 18 years, Barney Shepherd, an 87-year-old World War II veteran from Philadelphia, has purchased a box of 22 glucose test strips to check his Type 2 disabetes for $25.

When he wanted to increase the count to 50, the cost was $90.

"That's too high. And I don't understand how they can do that," Shepherd said. "A box of 50 should have been less than $50. I'm disabled. I can't go to Meridian. I can't go to Carthage. I can't go nowhere else."

But where in Mississippi he buys those strips doesn't really matter. Rest of article.
Sadly, Mr. Shepherd died a year ago.  Increasing the size of the purchase will usually increase the cost as well unless one is using newspaper math.   Unfortunately for diabetics such as Mr. Shepherd, the costs of such strips widely varies among pharmacies.  The reporter pushed the narrative that the costs were very high:

A box of 50 Accu Check Aviva Glucose Test Strips is $90 at the Wal-Mart Shepherd goes to in Philadelphia. It is $97 at Fred's Pharmacy in Carthage; $90 at Wal-Mart in Meridian; $95 at Wal-Mart in Jackson; $88 at Walgreen's in Jackson; $97 at Fred's in Greenville and $100 at Walgreens in Cleveland.

In Colorado, the state with the lowest diabetes rate, those same strips were: $99 at Walgreens in Denver and $89 at Cornell Pharmacy, also in Denver. In West Virginia, the state with the highest diabetes rate in the nation, the prices were $93 at Rite Aid and $88 at CVS.

Uh-huh.  The Kingfish has learned over the years not to trust the so-called research of reporters.  

There is some relief for those suffering the same dilemma. One option is to screw buying local. Geaux Amazon.  They can even be picked up at Whole Foods if one doesn't want to risk a stolen delivery. 



Contour Next-Bayer sells a pack of 300 for all of $77.  A box of 100 is under $35.  Accucheck sells a box of 50 for $32.   Mississippi does run last in everything but Amazon was available in 2015 when the story was written although it's doubtful that our valued veteran probably knew about Amazon, much less how to use its website.

If Amazon is not an option, here is what one will pay at a "local" pharmacy ( never mind the "local" pharmacy is usually a big corporation ) for the One Touch Strips manufactured by Verio.  

Walgreens: 50 ct - $60, 100 ct - $110
Walmart: 100 ct - $50
CVS: 50 ct - $40
Kroger: 25 ct - $22
Polks: 50 ct -$43
Beemon: 50 ct - $43

Kroger: Not Verio but sells its own brand.  50 ct is $20.

The Kingfish is not too knowledgeable on this subject so readers are more than welcome to post good deals for testing strips in the comments as there are probably quite a few readers who would appreciate the information.  That does not mean spam. 

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

More smart and honest coverage from Kingfish.

Anonymous said...

When I was misdiagnosed with Type II, I bought my strips on Amazon. At the time it was cheaper than using my medical insurance.

Anonymous said...

if he is an impoverished veteran why isn't the VA just giving them to him?

Anonymous said...

Or, Type 2 patients could stop drinking sodas and stop eating sugar and processed foods and start eating grilled meats and low glycemic veggies and fruits and not need supplies at all. Voila! Epidemic solved! But that would mean doctors and pharmacies would lose all sorts of profits.

Anonymous said...

Type 2 Diabetic here with a curiosity question: any other type 2 diabetics here, like myself, who simply don't test?

I was diagnosed almost 2 decades ago in my mid-30s. Tested sporadically at first, got frustrated with the cost and seeming stupidity of it, sh!tcanned testing altogether and have had zero issues. Wonder if I'm alone in this approach?

Hollie Marjanovic said...

Amazon also has “generic” strips which cost around $30 for 50. They can be bought in bulk for a bit more of a discount. In our case with a type 1 diabetic 5 year old, we sometimes test her 10 times per day. So we are looking at 300 strips per month. Our insurance saves us a lot of money and we get 300 freestyle strips for around $75 per month. However, when we did not have good insurance, we were buying out of pocket and that was around $200 per month just on strips. Then there is cost for insulin, syringes, alcohol wipes, and glucagon. Now we have a pump and continuous glucose monitor and even with the state BCBS insurance, it’s around $2500 per year for those devices. So, in sum, we are looking at around $300 per month for strips, insulin, pump, and cgm supplies—and there is always a fight with supply companies or insurance on approvals and costs. Then we have endocrinology appointments three times per year plus appointments with other specialist—just to make sure there aren’t other comorbid conditions. There are also special low carb foods that we buy, so that we can have a low carb diet that is enjoyable for a small person.This disease is taxing on finances, emotions, and physical health. It affects so many people in our state. Many of these costs might not be applicable to those with type 2, but research is showing that increasingly those with type 2 are becoming more insulin dependent and the average income per family in our state is around $50k per year. Many people truly can’t afford the bare minimum supplies. So, as a mom of a type 1 diabetic and a fellow citizen, we need help with limiting the personal financial costs of this disease.

Anonymous said...

Hollie you are fortunate to have insurance. There are hundreds of thousands of families in Mississippi who do not have any coverage because the state refused to expand Medicaid. If Trump is successful in eliminating protections for preexisting conditions there will be millions of diabetics who will no longer be covered.

Hollie Marjanovic said...

That is our greatest fear!!!! We didn’t have insurance when she was first diagnosed. At that point we needed two types of insulin, one was $400 per vial and the other around $500. Thank God someone told us that we could buy at UMMC’s Meds and Threads for $15 and $80 each. Thank God we could drive there to get it. Many people don’t have access to this and literally die because if it.

Anonymous said...

Most type 2 diabetics can control their sugars if they keep their weight in a decent range and don't eat junk every day. That leads to you only having to test every now and then. I know there are always exceptions and bad cases. Also , wal-Mart and several other stores have their own brand of strips that is cheaper than OneTouch.

Anonymous said...

2:42 is correct. Type 2 diabetes is what we call it when your body does not properly metabolize sugar. Solution? Eliminate sugar and simple starches from your diet and it will, in almost all cases, disappear without a trace. Make your own food so you know what goes into it, or eat at places that do. Bacon and eggs, chicken Caesar salads, grilled asparagus and Brussels sprouts, homemade beef stew... none are hard, none take a lot of prep, and they're all good even if you're not the best cook.

Anonymous said...

Exactly @10:31- grilled pork chops and chicken breasts and grilled burgers instead of fried chicken and big mac. Salads and grilled asparagus and cauliflower instead of french fries and mashed potatoes. Blueberries and rasberries and and strawberries over peaches and bananas. And only eat when hungry. Poof- there goes Type 2 diabetes; there goes heart disease; there goes alzheimers(type 3 diabetes; there goes arthritis in 50 year olds. I can make any person gain 30 pounds by prescribing insulin.

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