Excess Test Strips and Lancets

I always cringe when I read about people having to fight with their insurance companies trying to get enough test strips to manage their blood sugar.  I am extremely concerned about what is going to happen if the Medicare proposal goes thru limiting test strips to 6 per day.  But then there are those that are at the opposite end of the spectrum – they get a ton of extra strips and don’t use them.

A couple years ago, I read about someone getting a ton of test strips from a co-worker whose husband was on an auto-ship program and had a lot of extra boxes of test strips he would never use.  I just read on another message board that someone used the term “overwhelmed with test strips and lancets.”  She did not say how many times a day she was testing, but she did mention getting more than she needed and also multiple boxes of lancets that she did not use.

I know having the auto-ship is an easy way to get supplies but it seems like people don’t bother to change their order when they are getting more stuff than they can use.  I know I did the post on “Diabetic Hoarders” but my stash is stuff that I will actually use in the time that it is allotted for.  Like others, I have syringes left over when I switched to insulin pens and now pen needles when I started using the pump.  But those syringes are now coming in handy and I did not have multiple boxes of them sitting around.  And if I have an emergency and can’t use the pump, I will use the pen needles.

I use the Accu-Chek Multiclix lancet which has the drum in.  When I was using insulin pens, every morning I would change my pen needles and turn the knob to get a new lancet.  The box of lancets has 17 drums for a total of 102 lancets.  I would order one box with my 90 day supply of test strips.  Last year, my supply company messed up and sent me 18 boxes of lancets instead of one box.  I use 18 test strips a day and she changed my one box of lancets to 18 boxes.  When they came, I called the supply company up and made arrangements to return them – that was like a 5 year supply for me.  Now that I am using a pump instead of insulin pens, I don’t turn that little knob for a new lancet very often.  Since I am not using lancets up like I was, I don’t order them – I haven’t ordered any with my last two orders.  When I get to the point that I need some, I will order them. 

I understand that there are times we change brands of meters – our meters break and you have to get a different brand and you now have strips you can’t use.  Newer products come on the market and you upgrade to a better product.  I also understand that you don’t want to be down to your last test strip the day your new order shows up. That is not the kind of stuff I am talking about here.  I am talking about someone that gets an order of 10 boxes of test strips (or lancets) and only uses 5. Next month, they get another 10 boxes and again only use 5.  They now have 10 boxes of test strips but they let their supply company ship them yet another 10 boxes and now they have 20 boxes and only use 5 a month.  The surplus keeps building and building and they just let them keep coming. 

The only people that benefit when people are getting excess supplies are the supply companies.  Insurance companies are paying for products that aren’t being used.  That in turn raises everyone’s rates.  When insurance companies see people talking about getting stuff they don’t use and people selling supplies on eBay, then they make it harder for people that do use the stuff to get it.  If you are getting a lot more supplies than you will ever use, stop and think about the cost of what is being wasted.  Change your supply order to something more reasonable that you can actually use.

And of course, I have to throw in my daily reminder to watch the Big Blue Test video.  It is an important cause and even if you already watched the video, watch it again – every click counts and they are trying to get 100,000 views.  Help them make that goal!


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