Argue with Insurance over Test Strips?

Pre-D, (five months ago) I will say that I was a complete health insurance moron. We had health insurance that I was very happy with. Now that we are introduced to the new world of diabetes and caring for an expensive and chronic condition - I can't believe the things insurance doesn't want to pay for.

For instance, we use a One-touch mini meter. Saturday we received a letter from our insurance company saying that as of Jan 1, 2010 - One-touch test strips will no longer be covered - they are too expensive. But hey, you can get a free Bayer meter! I don't want a Bayer meter - I want to keep the meter we have until we go on the Animas Ping - and then can keep using the test strips we have!

Maybe I am freaking out over nothing and this happens all the time - can someone who has been doing this for a lot longer than me please let me know - do I argue with the insurance company or wait until we are on the Ping  which should be before the end of the year and then I feel like logically their argument would be weaker?

I hate insurance companies, they are completely evil and care nothing about sick people, because sick go to doctors and need meds, right. I went to pick up my daughters strips and my insurance said no too soon, and too many strips. I was freaking the hell out, we had no money, and six strips left! I called the Docs number, the cde number, the refill and appointment number at the hospital leaving a frantic message on all.. "I need test strips, and I need them NOW!" I called the jack-ass idiots at wallgreens ten times. Well i'm proud to say Cardnial Glennon Childrens Hospital in St Louis Mo got the job done. We had our strips at 7pm that night. But this isn't the first time we've had problems with insurance, they are horrible, all about the bottom line profit!

In your situation, I wonder if the doctor ordered a prior authorization on the strips, they may not have a choice...??? Not sure.. One touch strips are like $1.07 a piece. We had to buy all my daughters supplies for seven months, we spend like 7 8 thousand dollars.. The one touch is a nice machine, but we actually like the free style lite better, it uses less blood, and reads faster, but the "hole" is on the sides, takes gettin use to, but well worth it. I wish you the best of luck, pray pray pray pray thats my best advice!!

Unless I can argue the point that I will rack up their bill even higher via a DKA induced visit to the hospital, I don't argue. This happens with fighting the insurance company for insulin.  I have only had to argue with the insurance company about 5 times in the past 11 years of diabetes for my insulin.

When my test strips are taken away and I am given a new option, I tend to take it, It is no fun for me getting worked up over the method of blood sugar checking. Picking and choosing your battles is hard sometimes as a diabetic because we tend to fight for everything, so pick your battles wisely. It is not good for you to battle all the time. =)

I can understand not wanting to change meters. I had the accu chek aviva before I got my ping. I loved it, the test strips for the onetouch meters are SOOOO small and hard to handle. But, you have to get used to some things because sometimes it's just not worth it to mess around with the insurance companies and whatever else. Good luck!

I have changed insurances a few time recently (with job changes) and everything has gotten really confused on their end.  I've been fighting things like crazy lately, however... I agree with needing to pick your battles wisely.  YOU have to decide what's important enough for you to fight for it.  I get stressed out easily, which always makes my sugar go up.

i'm  worried to see what changes will come when the government changes healthcare as we know it........

My first response is to ask the Dr to write a prescription for One Touch meters specifically.  With my limited knowledge of insurance companies I believe they will go with what the Dr prescribes.

The next step, not the easiest or most enjoyable, is to appeal the decision of the ins. co.  Too often individuals will accept their decisions and not question them.   

I hope you are able to challenge their decision and keep using the One Touch Mini.  I use an Ultra Smart, Ultra2, and a Mini and it would be a huge diappointment to have to change to a different brand. 

Tell the doctor you test more than you really do.  That's what I do and it works.  The doctor doesn't really care.  At least any I've had didn't.  They're not insurance company gate keepers.  You're not ripping anyone off because the insurance said they'd supply you with what you need.  If you run out too soon to get more, then they're not.  You're not going to throw away what you don't use. 

Also see if your insurance can use a mail in pharmacy.  They send out 3 months worth of stuff at a time.  Then they let you re order after about 2 months so you don't run out.  Then if your doctor gives you a little bigger prescription you can even build up a little surplus in case of an emergency or you lose your insurance.  I do the same with insulin and syringes too.  This is the system we have and I don't think it's going to change much if any.  Don't fight the system, work it!

Why is the One Touch meter so important to you?  I'm curious.  These days, a meter is almost like a ball point pen.  They all work pretty much the same.  I prefer the FreeStyle because it takes less blood.  But I was on a clinical trial that required the One Touch.  I got used to it.

The Onetouch meter is 'important' only because the pump I am currently planning to get my son on is the Animas Ping, for which the meter remote is a Onetouch. Otherwise I would be irritated but probably wouldn't care too much.

Makes sense.  Good luck. I hope you get what you want.

[quote user="JDVsMom"]

The Onetouch meter is 'important' only because the pump I am currently planning to get my son on is the Animas Ping, for which the meter remote is a Onetouch. Otherwise I would be irritated but probably wouldn't care too much.



I would fight it, and fight it hard...  keep us posted, Mom!  I love my one touch and i'd cry if i had to change

for an unknown reason my florida BCBS insurance treated test strips as DME (they last a few seconds) and would not cover them.  my employer changed to a lower/less expense/less good plan.....and BCBS started covering the strips as a covered benefit...does not make any since to me but saves me a few thousand dollars a year.  anyone have a similar experience/explaination?

Have you checked to make sure the Animas Ping is covered? If it is, I would argue that they need to cover the One Touch strips that the Ping's meter uses. You might want to look into that because it would be awful to have your heart set on the Ping and then find out they don't cover it. By the way, my 8 year old has been using the Ping for 1-1/2 years now and we love it!

Prior to using the pump though, my daughter used Contour strips and meter and we loved them. However, we adjusted quickly to One Touch once she started pumping.

Oh man, I don't really want to get started on how  evil insurances are, but recently, I just had an argument with them over an emergency.  I also use the One Touch Ultra Strips and while they are not completely covered (annoying b/c my freestyle meter strips & my BD meter strips were completely covered), I can pay a 2 months worth of co-pay for them to get a 3 month supply through my insurance's prescription mail delivery program.  Here's the issue I ran into though...

I had to fly out of state on a family emergency to be w/my dad during his surgery.  I had just refilled my test strips before I left and in the rush when I was packing, I thought I had brought enough strips plus extra for at least a month's supply (not knowing how long I'd be with my dad).  Well, due to my pregnancy, I have been experiencing a lot more lows and not feeling the symptoms, so I ended up having to test more frequently than I had expected.  So, during the last week of my stay with my dad, I was running out of strips.  I called my endo to call in an emergency prescription to fill at least 25 strips for me.  He did so, no problem.  But when I got to the pharmacy, they informed me that my insurance would not cover it b/c I had already filled my prescription recently and that I was not due for another refill until May.  I had the pharmacy call them up and explain to them it was an emergency.  My insurance does not cover emergency refills.  I was so LIVIDLY FURIOUS that I got on the phone with them and yelled, "If I DIE because I cannot check my sugars on a regular basis, then I will have my family hold YOU responsible to pay all of my funeral bills and any other bills coinciding with MY DEATH!!!"  They tried to say, "They understand my frustration, but it is their policy" and I screamed, "SCREW YOUR STUPID POLICY, YOU SHOULD CHANGE IT TO INCORPORATE EMERGENCY SITUATIONS BECAUSE EMERGENCIES DO HAPPEN!  I PAY ALL THIS MONEY TO YOU AND YOU CANNOT EVEN COVER ME IN AN EMERGENCY?!?!  YOU ARE USELESS AND I HOPE YOU ALL GO TO HELL WHERE YOU DESERVE TO ALL BE BECAUSE YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY NOT SERVING THE PEOPLE OR YOUR CUSTOMERS YOU GREEDY PIGS!!!!!!!!"  I hung up the phone with them and the pharmacy was so stunned at my emotions that they gave me a 30% discount to buy the strips w/out the prescription, but I was still pissed by the matter of the fact of my insurance's lack of care & service.

Something my doctor did for me that helped was writing a letter on my behalf strictly expressing the need for certain items and their quantities in order for me to be in good control, good health etc.  Along with this he would put down that I tested alot more then I really did so that I would always have alot of extra supplies as time went by.  Not sure if this will work for you but just an idea