The End of Free Diabetes Test Supplies?

Free diabetes test supplies, including blood glucose meters and test strips may become a thing of the past under new medical devices tax.

Diabetics in the United States looking for free test supplies and blood glucose meters, which have been commonplace in the medical industry here for many years, may be in for a rude awakening after January 1, 2013.

On that date, a little known provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, kicks-in. The provision will levy a 2.3% tax on the sale or import of ALL medical devices in the United States. This includes a great number of medical devices and supplies that diabetics depend on for their care every single day. It will include test strips and blood glucose meters, lab equipment purchased by their physicians, hospitals and health care clinics and much more. The tax will be levied directly upon the manufacturer, who in turn must pass on these charges to suppliers, who in the end will pass on the cost of the tax directly to consumers.

It is important to note that the new tax, while intended to help fund Obamacare, will be imposed on absolutely everyone directly or indirectly. Even those with private insurance (or no insurance) will end up paying higher prices. This is an important consideration when you take into account that Obamacare will still leave tens of millions of Americans without any health insurance coverage at all. Mostly the growing lower-middle class (the working poor) who are currently unable to afford insurance, yet don’t qualify for existing state aid or future benefits under the Affordable Care Act, will be the hardest hit. Consumers paying 100% of their medical expenses out of pocket will obviously suffer the most.

Because of the way most medical device manufacturers currently do business, that is by giving-away free or highly-subsidized blood glucose test meters knowing that they can not be used without their own, proprietary test strips, another problem arises. Meter manufacturers can afford to do this currently because the actual manufacturing cost of free meters are written-off on their corporate taxes as a promotional expense. The actual cost of a meter may be many times what they charge, but since there is currently no tax on giving-away free meters, the manufacturer can write-off the entire amount as a tax deductible expense. The new provision will place a direct tax on the gross sales of all of the company’s devices, regardless of whether the company makes a profit on the item or not, and regardless of whether the item is charged for or is “given away”. Obviously, the government is not going to buy into the manufacturer’s claim that these meters are actually “free”. They will imply some sort of value to meters and test strips, most likely based upon what they cost to manufacture. The IRS will find a way to tax these devices whether they are given-away or not. This inevitably means that giving-away free meters will be much more expensive.

No matter what kind of health care coverage a diabetic has now, or may have in the future, the new provision will definitely increase your expenses when it comes to maintaining and monitoring your blood glucose levels. Those with private insurance will see their rates go up as a result. Those with no insurance will see higher out-of-pocket expenses. Those who qualify under federal or state programs for aid will see their income taxes increase, as the government itself will not be immune to paying more to manufacturers due to increased costs caused by the taxes they levy.

It is also entirely likely that the “good old days” of diabetics being offered free blood glucose monitors through advertising and at Doctor’s offices may quickly be coming to an end. Just to add to the problems for many diabetics, a number of states and local jurisdictions across the country have recently enacted legislation to raise sales taxes. Depending on where you live, you could see an additional 1% to even 5% increase in your out-of-pocket expenses for common items such as blood glucose test strips. In many localities across the country, sales taxes are already above 10% when state, county and city taxes are added together. With many states dealing with spiraling deficits, and a growing number of cities and counties declaring bankruptcy: adding additional burdens that taxes must be raised to pay for, the cost of being a diabetic will likely continue to skyrocket in the United States for some time to come.

Questions associated with this article:

Where can I find free diabetic testing supplies?
Where can I get free test strips?
Will the cost of my diabetic test supplies be increasing?
When will new taxes on diabetic test supplies go into effect?
Will diabetics see their out-of-pocket expenses increase?

Further Reading:

The Little-Known Provision Of Obamacare That Could Have A Big, Bad ImpactWBUR Radio

Non-partisan Group: It is one (tax) that is expected to cost tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of lost U.S. GDP.NASDAQ News

Regardless, You’ll Pay MoreThe National Review


Free Blood Glucose Meter From Abbott Diabetes Care

How to get free blood glucose meter and ongoing support from manufacturer with insurance co-pay assistance. Completely free, no need to be enrolled in Medicare.

We have found a new source for obtaining a free blood glucose meter without having to buy anything, be on Medicare or give out sensitive information like your Social Security number.

Abbott Labs, one of the oldest and largest manufacturers of blood glucose meters for diabetics, has a new promotion called the FreeStyle Promise Program. When you sign-up for the program you receive a number of helpful tools, as well as a free blood glucose meter.

When it comes to the meter itself, you get to choose between two different models. One is called the FreeStyle Lite and the other is the FreeStyle Freedom Lite. What’s the difference? Not much. The FreeStyle Freedom Lite model is smaller and perhaps more convenient to carry around. The FreeStyle Lite model has a larger LCD screen, so it is a bit easier to read for diabetics with poor eyesight. Both meters use the same blood glucose test strips, which Abbott refers to as their ZipWikT line.

We’ve tested various FreeStyle meters in the past, and they have always measured up as one of the higher-quality brands. Blood glucose test results typically take about 5 seconds to complete. The test strips require only a minimal sample of blood and can be used on alternative test sites such as your palm, arm, leg, etc. One improvement Abbott has made with this newest line of blood glucose meters is the elimination of coding from set-up requirements. So, you won’t have to enter any codes in the meter and won’t have to worry about getting test strips with the wrong code on them. Each of the meters feature an LED backlight for testing in less than optimal light conditions as well. Those of you wishing to save test results to your computer can do so through a data port built-in to the meter. However, it requires a special cable, which is available separately from the company. One unique feature that we have not seen on other blood glucose monitors is the ability to add “skins”. These are basically just accessories that allow you to change the color or appearance of your meter. So, those of you who are fashion conscious about their diabetic testing supplies can opt for designs other than the standard boilerplate blue.

Alternate blood glucose testing locations

In order to join the program, you will have to fill-out an online form with a minimal amount of contact information and some simple questions about your diabetes. Name, address, phone number, e-mail, what type of diabetes you have, how long have you have used your current meter, what brand of meter you currently use, when you were diagnosed… are all questions on the short survey and contact form. You’ll also need to make-up a password in order to log-in to the company’s website. It takes about 2 minutes to complete the online form, and you should get an e-mail message with more information sent to you upon completion. Some of the health questions are optional, so feel free to skip them if you wish.

Joining the program gets you some other benefits as well. The free meter itself basically comes with a lifetime guarantee. The company will replace the meter free of charge if it ever breaks down and will send replacement batteries upon request. The test strips to be used with the meters also claim to have the lowest insurance co-pay in the industry at $15. This is said to be made possible through the company’s co-pay assistance program, which is another program benefit. The company doesn’t spell out exactly how the co-pay assistance program works, but they offer a toll-free number for program members to call that is staffed by “insurance consultants”. They also mail out regular statements, showing how much you have spent and/or saved with the program. In rather small print, the company claims that the $15 insurance co-pay is available on 8 out of 10 insurance plans, though I’m guessing that number is subject to change.

Lastly, you also receive toll-free access to “licensed Certified Diabetes Educators” by phone and access to a password-protected website that contains a number of useful articles on diabetes, general health, new products and other offers for free or discounted diabetes test supplies and other products for diabetics from Abbott Labs.

This is the part of the article where we typically answer the question, “What’s the catch”. Obviously, Abbott is in business to make money, and they certainly can’t do it by giving-away free meters. As with all blood glucose meter manufacturers we know of, the meters are useless without the test strips. There is only one company that makes test strips which are compatible with Abbott’s meters, and that is Abbott themselves. The test strips for these devices are not cheap. If you do not have health insurance, you can find inexpensive meters and much less expensive test strips from a wide variety of vendors. The difference in quality of these products is certainly open to debate, but we have seen few complaints about the less expensive brands. If you do have health insurance or Medicare, the price of test strips is usually not an issue, since most people only need to cover a co-pay amount. If you fall into this latter category, you might actually save money with the FreeStyle brand meters, rather than spending anything extra. That is not to say that you are getting something for nothing. Most people with health insurance are well aware that the cost of your co-pay doesn’t cover the real cost of the manufactured item. The additional costs are usually covered by increased health insurance premiums, which have seen huge increases over the past 1-2 years.

So, how do you sign-up for the program and get your free meter? The company’s website can be a bit difficult to navigate, but the easiest way is to go directly to https://www.myfreestyle.com/be-sure-to-check-out-our-ongoing-offers-and-promotions.html. That link should take you to the latest offers that the company has available.

Update 04/18/2011: Just to make sure that this offer really worked as advertised, we filled out the online form with our own name and address to request a free meter. It arrived in about a week via USPS. If anything, the meter looks even smaller in person than it does in pictures. In addition to the meter itself, we also received 10 free blood glucose test strips, 10 disposable lancets, an ultra-small lancing device and a handy, zippered carrying case. The meter basically works as advertised. It took approximately 3-4 seconds for the meter to complete blood testing, which is significantly faster than some of the cheaper brands. If you have to balance cost vs. speed though, none of the cheaper blood glucose meters we have tested took more than 10 seconds to produce a result. It’s up to you to decide whether the extra 5-6 seconds is worth the added cost of more expensive test strips.

The meter also came with a warranty registration card and an application for The FreeStyle Promise Program. I’m not sure whether it is actually necessary to return the card, since you enroll for the program online when you request the free meter. Obviously, the free meter also came with a lengthy instruction manual, which I have not bothered to read yet. IMHO, any meter that requires you to read a manual prior to using it is too complicated. Since most blood glucose monitors sold these days no longer require “coding”, most diabetics have come to expect that using them should be straightforward and simple. Obviously, you will need to refer to the manual if you want to know how some of the more advanced features work (memory, computer connection, etc.), but for the most part FreeStyle’s meters work the same as the other brands.

If you have good medical insurance and price (for test strips) is not a consideration, I’d have to say that this is one of the better blood glucose monitors on the market. Small size, no coding, accurate results, ability to test blood from places other than your fingertips, a lifetime warranty, small blood sample needed, backlit LCD, fast test results, a variety of “skins” available, data connectivity, memory averages, etc. It seems to have all of the bells and whistles that diabetics want in a blood glucose meter these days, and it doesn’t get much cheaper than FREE.

Some of the various "skins" available for the FreeStyle blood glucose meter. Over 1,000 styles are available.

Some of the various "skins" available for the FreeStyle blood glucose meter. Over 1,000 styles are available.

Questions associated with this article:

Where can I get a free blood glucose meter?
Where can I get a free blood glucose monitor?
How do I get a free FreeStyle blood glucose meter?
What is the best blood glucose meter?
Where can I get a free meter for diabetes?
Where can I find a review of FreeStyle blood glucose monitors?

Note: Neither the author nor freediabetestestsupplies.com were compensated for this article, nor do we have any relationship with Abbott Labs.


Where To Find Discounts On Prescription Diabetes Medications

Don’t have health insurance? Where to find discounts on prescription diabetes medications online. Free discount card saves money on most diabetic medications.

diabetic drugs

Diabetes is not only one of the nation’s fastest growing epidemics, it is also easily one of the most expensive diseases to treat with modern medicine. With the rising cost of health insurance, many diabetics that are not old enough to qualify for Medicare coverage are simply dropping their coverage and paying their health care costs directly.

Fortunately, the majority of Type 2 diabetics can be treated with prescription drugs that can be bought in generic form at relatively reasonable prices in the United States. Major pharmacies such as Walmart, Costco and Target sell generic drugs that treat diabetes for as little as $3-4 per month. There are cases where a Doctor will prescribe drugs (such as Byetta, Avandia or Galvus) for which there is no generic substitute available though. These drugs can end up being quite expensive. With no health insurance, or for those that are underinsured, finding a way to afford these “brand name” drugs can be quite difficult in today’s tough economic times.

In order to address this problem, a number of new companies have sprung-up in recent years that offer prescription drug discount plans. Although these plans are definitely not equal substitutes for having health insurance, for those who do not qualify for any other type of assistance these programs can actually save consumers a significant amount of money. Generally, the key is finding the right program, coupon or service and finding a pharmacy that will accept them.

Until the past 1-2 years, most prescription discount plans charged a fee to belong to their program. To make matters worse, many diabetics paid for these programs only to find out later that the particular drugs they used were not covered or that the nearest pharmacy that participated in the program was hundreds of miles away. To put it bluntly, many of the early programs were quite simply scams.

Fortunately, increasing competition for the attention of those without health insurance seems to have forced the industry into reforming itself, and today most plans charge no fees, are accepted almost everywhere and cover the majority of medications that diabetics take regularly.

So, how is it that these companies are able to offer discounts on prescription drugs for free and still make money? The answer is fairly simple. Drug companies are eager to get consumers to use their drugs, rather than those of the competition. Whichever drug company can get you “hooked” on their medication first stands to make the most money. So, many drug companies have struck deals with these providers to promote their products and offer the discount as an incentive to consumers to try them. In some cases, the discounts may only be used on new prescriptions. In others the discounts are ongoing as long as the consumer remembers to use their discount card or coupon when shopping.

diabetic with no health insurance

For diabetics who do not have health insurance and do not qualify for any sort of financial aid or insurance from state or federal agencies, using these free programs is one of the easiest ways to save money on your prescriptions. They will rarely be as cost effective as switching to a generic drug though. So, if you are looking to save money on your health care expenses, it makes sense to ask your Doctor first if you can be treated with a generic drug for your diabetes instead.

Below are links to a couple of free prescription discount providers that we have found to be reliable and that offer some good deals on occasion. If you are a diabetic already paying for name brand prescription medicine, you really have nothing to lose by trying these programs out. If you have any suggestions for additions to the list, please drop us a note via our contact page.

Quality Health: Offers free samples of prescription and non-prescription medications based on your answers to health survey questions. They do not generally offer ongoing discounts, but are a good, free source of samples for new medications and health products for diabetics.


Free Stuff For Diabetics, Discount Coupon For Insulin Treatment

Free diabetic meal planning guide, blood glucose log sheets, discount coupons for insulin and other diabetic supplies, free diabetes health evaluation, more!

World Diabetes Day is being held on November 14, 2010, and a number of companies are getting the word out by offering generous discounts on diabetes test supplies and treatments as well as offering coupons and freebies. Below are a few of the offers we have come across this past week:

free insulin couponThe manufacturers of Lantus are offering diabetics a free diabetic meal planning guide as well as free blood glucose log sheets and a coupon good for (up to) $25 off your next purchase of the Lantus Solostar disposable insulin injection pen. This product is only available by prescription, so you will need to get one from your Doctor prior to using the coupon. The offer is good through December 31, 2010. Download free materials and coupons at http://www.whyinsulin.com

Elotin discountsEastwood Bio-Medical Research, manufacturer of Elotin, is offering diabetics a free health evaluation via the Internet. Everyone taking part in the offer will receive a coupon good for $75 off their next phone order of the company’s natural treatments for diabetes, plus a free pair of Pedo Protection Socks valued at $30. For more information, see the company’s website at http://www.eastwoodcompanies.com.

American Diabetes Wholesale has a number of special offers on their website that will only be available on November 14th and 15th. In addition, they have lowered prices on 20 of their best-selling diabetes test supplies products for the entire month of November. Since they already have some of the best deals to be found on diabetic test supplies (we even use them ourselves), it’s a great opportunity to stock up and save before the holidays hit. You can find the company’s special offers and coupon codes for November at http://www.americandiabeteswholesale.com.

QualityHealth.Com is offering a free diabetic friendly recipes book when you join their mailing list at http://www.qualityhealth.com.

free diabetes discount cardRx Discount Card is an interesting service we stumbled upon that not only offers a free discount card for prescription drugs, but also provides an easy way to compare the pricing of prescription medications based upon where you live. The free discount card can be printed directly from the website. It costs nothing and has no expiration date. However, the real value we found in this service is the ability to check prices for prescription drugs at local pharmacies just by entering the drug name and your zip code. Up to 20 different pharamcies will be listed, along with their prices on the medication you are looking for. To get your free Rx Discount Card or to use their drug cost comparison service just go to http://discount-drug-card.net.

watch free diabetes treatment videosRawForThirty, the producers of the documentary film Raw For 30 Days, is pulling out all the stops to promote World Diabetes Day by releasing a multi-part video series this month that is available for download free on their website. If you are unfamiliar with the documentary, it follows the paths of several diabetics who accept a challenge to eat nothing but raw food (a vegan diet) for 30 days, to see how it will affect their diabetes. The results are nothing short of amazing. Most of the participants were able to completely eliminate using all of their diabetes medications, as well as stopping insulin injections, within a matter of weeks. Even Type 1 diabetics seem to have been completely “cured” of their diabetes once beginning this plan. The new video series features interviews with a number of Physicians, celebrities and experts in the field of diabetes treatment and nutrition, explaining how raw, or living foods, can be used to help improve or even reverse diabetes and its various complications. It’s definitely worth your time, if you haven’t seen any of this material before. To access the free videos, just connect to their website at http://www.rawfor30days.com.

Questions associated with this article:

Where can I find free stuff for diabetics?
How do I get free insulin?
Where can I find free insulin coupons from Lantus for Solostar insulin?
Who offers free samples of diabetes test supplies?
What are the best free drug discount programs for diabetics?
Where can I find free videos about diabetes?
Where can I get free Lantus Solostar coupons?

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