How Do Diabetes Test Strips Work
A drop of blood is applied to the intake port on the test strip, usually indicated by a clear area in the strip where you can see the blood sample run up the strip. Inside the strip, the blood mixes with an enzyme. The glucose meter then runs electricity through that mixture. The meter gauges the resistance to the electricity to determine your blood glucose levels, and a reading pops up on your glucose meter.
The ‘gray Market’ For Test Strips
The high list prices have given rise to internet companies like TestStripSearch.com and QuickCash4TestStrips.com that buy unused test strips from insured patients and resell them to the uninsured or underinsured. While reselling prescription drugs is against the law, reselling test strips is legal, Alcorn reports.
The owner of one test strip selling site explained, “I’m taking advantage, as are my peers, of a loophole. We’re allowed to do that. I don’t even think we should be, frankly.”
This market has arisen in part thanks to a strategy test strip manufacturers use, whereby they sell patients test strips that only work with their own brand of meters, Alcorn writes. When this strategy is in place, if a patient’s insurer begins using a certain manufacturer, the patient is often left with a large amount of unused test strips for a meter that doesn’t match the strips.
While some resellers market their strips to patients, they also sell the strips back to retail pharmacies, which can then resell the test strips as new and bill the patient’s insurer full price, Alcorn writes. The patient’s insurer will then reimburse the pharmacy and demand a rebate from the manufacturer, which already paid a rebate when the strips were sold the first time. According to Glenn Johnson, general manager for market access at Abbott Diabetes Care, test strip manufacturers lose more than $100 million in profits because of this.
Ways To Save Of Test Strips
With the current test strips maximum quota being limited to 300 test strips every 3 months, many diabetes have to pay for their strips out of their own pocket. Over time, the expense can truly make a dent in a persons budget. In what ways can you save on test strips? There are many options:
1. Be Strategic
If you have type 2 diabetes and do not require insulin, you can work with you doctor or diabetes educator to determine the bare minimum of tests required in order to maintain your blood glucose control. You can also do something called paired testing, which allows you to spot check and gather enough information throughout the month to get a trend of your blood glucose level.
- Benefits CheckUp:
This service from the National Council on Aging offers information for older adults with limited income and resources. Single individuals who make less than $17,655 a year and married couples making less than $23,895 are eligible. benefitscheckup.org, 1-800-677-1116.
- RX Outreach:
Partnered with the Prodigy meter and strip manufacturer, this organization is here to provide help and supplies for low-income people with diabetes . rxoutreach.org, 1-888-796-1234.
- CR3 Diabetes Association:
You can always find deals where you can buy two boxes of 50 store brand test strips at the same price you will get for buying 25 generic brand test strips. And to score the best deal, the trick is to buy their package deal .
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History On Glucose Test Strips
The first glucometer was invented by Leland C. Clark and Ann Lyons in 1962. It wasnt until early the 1980s that home glucose monitoring was made possible with the development of glucose test strips by two companies called Bayer and Roche . However, during that time, the glucose test strip was quite different from the present day product it measured blood glucose by using an enzyme to convert the blood sample glucose into a proportional amount of dye sample.
A meter then analyzed the amount of dye present by shining a beam of light on the test spot to detect how much light was absorbed by the dye. Compared to the current testing process, the old practice was much more time consuming.
Since then, test strips technology went through great advancement. In the early 90s, electrochemistry was combined with the test strip technology. The glucose oxidase enzyme was used to transform glucose into an electrical current that would then be read out by the glucometer as a glucose concentration. This has become our current glucose test strips.
Why We Buy Diabetic Test Strips
Some of our clients who sell test strips to us.
Diabetic test strips are important for people with diabetes. It is a very important medical tool but they are very expensive.
There are times that people find themselves having extra test strips. They may have changed meters or they dont have to test much often. The extra test strips often ends up in the trash.
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Can Expired Test Strips Give A False Reading Do They All Go Bad
The most important factor when buying test strips is having accurate results. Diathrive provides you with control solution at no cost so you can always verify the accuracy of your test strips. Learn more about test strip accuracy here.
Blood glucose test strips have an expiration date because the enzyme on the strip can be affected by heat, cold, moisture, age and other factors. Damaged or expired strips can give false readings that are very far from your true blood sugar. We always send strips that are at least a year from their expiration date. Usually, you have about 15-18 months to use your strips before they expire.
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Who Pays The Most Of Diabetic Test Strips
Sell Your Strips for More pays the most for Diabetic Test Strips when you factor in their expiration policy, and the fact they rarely discount for damaged boxes. Unless the box had significant damage it was not discounted. In order to find the best place to sell diabetic test strips, we tested the first 6 companies listed on Google under the search term sell test strips, we only looked at the organic search results, not the ads since the ad position changes frequently. We will not mention the names of the companies, but they are easy to find with a quick google search of sell test strips. We sent each company the following:
- 1 One Touch Ultra 100 count 12 month expiration date Mint condition
- 1 One Touch Ultra 100 count 12 month expiration date Slight Damage
- 1 One Touch Ultra 100 count 6 month expiration date Mint condition
|12 Month Expiration|
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How Long Do Blood Glucose Strips Last For
Blood glucose test strips will usually have a use by date on the strips or box they come in. After opening, blood glucose test strips will typically be good to use for another 3 to 6 months but refer to the box or information leaflet for advice specific to your brand of test strips.
If you have more than one box of test strips, its a good idea to use the oldest one first, so they dont expire.
What To Do With All These Test Strip Containers
If you require several blood glucose test a day, you will soon have boxes full of these empty test strip containers. But it doesnt mean that you have to throw them all away. You can simply upcycle them for other purposes:
1. Create emergency sewing kits
2. Turn it into craft storage
If you do beading work, these containers are perfect for organizing all your different beads and beading accessories.
3. Turn it into a small candy stash container
If you like to buy candy in bulk, you can fill them in these little containers and stash them in your pockets and bring them wherever you go.
4. Trinkets Organizer
If you have a lot of accessories, these containers are perfect for organizing them in your drawers. This way, your necklaces will never tangle into a ball along with your rings and earrings.
5. Seed Sorters
If you are an avid gardener, you will have plenty of seeds every fall. These containers will be perfect for you to organize your seed collection
6. Play-Do Keeper
The air-tight containers are great for keeping all your childrens Play-Do fresh and moist. You can even refresh old Play-Do by moistening a cotton pad with water and place it at the bottom. This way, the Play-Do will absorb the moisture and will be soft for molding again.
7. Paint Keeper
If you love to paint, you can put your paint straight into these containers. And when you are done painting, you do not need to throw away the paint. Just put the lid back on and your paint will be safely stored.
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The Strange Marketplace For Diabetes Test Strips
It is legal to resell unused test strips for blood glucose, and many patients do, driving an unusual trade online and on the streets.
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On most afternoons, people arrive from across New York City with backpacks and plastic bags filled with boxes of small plastic strips, forming a line on the sidewalk outside a Harlem storefront.
Hanging from the awning, a banner reads: Get cash with your extra diabetic test strips.
Each strip is a laminate of plastic and chemicals little bigger than a fingernail, a single-use diagnostic test for measuring blood sugar. More than 30 million Americans have Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and most use several test strips daily to monitor their condition.
But at this store on W. 116th Street, each strip is also a lucrative commodity, part of an informal economy in unused strips nationwide. Often the sellers are insured and paid little out of pocket for the strips the buyers may be underinsured or uninsured, and unable to pay retail prices, which can run well over $100 for a box of 100 strips.
Some clinicians are surprised to learn of this vast resale market, but it has existed for decades, an unusual example of the vagaries of American health care. Unlike the resale of prescription drugs, which is prohibited by law, it is generally legal to resell unused test strips.
Answer Man: Why Is Someone Buying Diabetic Test Strips
Answer Man: I keep seeing these signs all around town and I wonder: Why would someone want cash for diabetic test strips? Am I getting the strips or selling them to this person? Also, if Im someone who needs diabetic test strips, should I be buying them for whoever this is? — Trevor Mitchell, of Springfield
Leave it to a reporter to sneak in three questions instead of one. Trevor works the night shift here at the paper.
The signs say Cash 4 Diabetic Test Strips. After receiving Trevors question, I went to investigate and spotted three such signs at the intersection of National Avenue and Elm Street.
I called the phone number on the sign and talked to a man who when I told him I was a reporter immediately feared I was going to do a hatchet job on his business.
He would not give me his name and would not tell me the name of his company.
I have run into every newspaper company there is, he told me. You guys are trying to tear me apart. You dont need to know how long Ive been doing this.
That was one of my questions: How long have you been doing this type of work?
For a little while.
I sensed some reluctance on his part. But heres what he did tell me:
He pays cash for unexpired strips, which are used to test and monitor a diabetics level of blood sugar.
He then sells them to others.
I asked him how people end up with extra test strips that they want to sell.
But cant you help a guy out?
Thats your call. Youve got his number.
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Can You Reuse Test Strips
If you are trying to think out of the box to save some money, the answer is, unfortunately, no. As some patients have tried already, if you stick a used strip into the meter, it will tell you that it is an invalid strip. Even if you are able to suck all the old blood from the strip and trick your meter to accept your used strip as a new strip, you simply cannot trust the reading from the used strip. The main reason is that the manufacturer has loaded just enough enzymes to run ONLY one test. After that test is done, there will not be enough enzymes to run another test.
Are Blood Glucose Test Strips Covered By Insurance
Test strips are covered by most commercial insurers, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. According to survey data provided to DiabetesMine by the diabetes research firm dQ& A, most PWDs do get their test strips through health insurance 82 percent of people with type 1 diabetes, and 76 percent of those with type 2 to be exact.
But even with this coverage, test strips can often be very pricey.
For one thing, if you have a high deductible health plan, you still might need to pay over-the-counter prices for supplies until you meet the deductible. However, you could catch a break if you have a health savings account , as the Treasury Department recently said that diabetes supplies and insulin would be covered in high deductible plans for people who have HSAs.
Also, your insurance might not cover the brand of test strips that you want. Many insurance plans put specific preferred brands of meters and test strips in their top formulary tiers. That means brands not in those tiered lists will cost much more.
This can be a problem for PWDs who need specific meters that transmit readings to their insulin pumps, or who switch insurance plans and dont like the meters and strips covered by their new plans.
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How To Find Out If Glucose Monitor And Test Strips Are Accurate
After reading about all the factors that will affect your test result, you may wonder how you can make sure that your glucose monitor and test strips are accurate. It is quite simple. Most glucose monitor comes with a standardized test solution. You can test the accuracy of your glucometer by squeezing a droplet of this solution onto a test strip and putting it into your monitor.
You would go through the same process as you would with your blood sample. After the monitor takes the reading, you can compare the reading with the amount printed on the solution bottle. If the two numbers match, that means your glucose monitor is functioning properly. You should use the test solution every time you open a new box of test strips to verify the quality and accuracy of the products.
The Signs Have Popped Up Around York County
An unusual offer is popping up on roadside signs around York County an offer to buy diabetic test strips.
About 6 million people in the U.S. use insulin to manage their diabetes, according to Matt Petersen, a managing director at American Diabetes Association. Those people use the test strips, along with a device called a glucometer, to check their blood glucose levels.
Test strips are absolutely necessary for anyone who uses insulin to be able to safely adjust the dose of insulin to a persons blood glucose levels, Petersen said in an email. They are also helpful for people with diabetes who dont use insulin to know how well theyre managing their diabetes.
However, not all people have the right amount of test strips, Petersen said. Some have too many, and others dont have enough, creating the unusual resale market.
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Diabetic test strips are expensive, and for some people with diabetes, insurance doesnt provide as many strips as a health care provider might recommend, said Rachel Kostelac, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
Particularly, those with Type I diabetes might need more test strips than their insurance provides, said Debra Bell, Family First Health director of clinical quality improvement. A person has to have some way to check their blood sugar because their pancreas doesnt create insulin.
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Beware Of Buying Previously Owned Test Strips
Test strips are part of many tests for home use that allow people to test for or monitor some diseases or health conditions, including diabetes. The FDA is aware that some sellers are marketing pre-owned or secondhand test strips to consumers. These are unused test strips previously owned by someone else.
These pre-owned strips may be sold at lower prices when compared to new strips. For instance, you may see flyers advertising cheap test strips in your neighborhood, or you may see sellers marketing cheap test strips online. But pre-owned strips can give incorrect results and may not be safe for use with devices.
For more detailed information about the risks associated with pre-owned test strips, please see, The FDA Warns Against Use of Previously Owned Test Strips or Test Strips Not Authorized for Sale in the United States.
Heres more information to consider.
The bottom line? When it comes to buying test stripsincluding glucose test strips designed for your meterthe FDA recommends that you buy new, unopened vials and that you do not buy pre-owned test strips.
Talk to your health care provider if you are not sure where to buy test strips for your glucose meter or if you cannot afford to buy the test strips recommended for use with your meter.