Diabetes,  Diabetes Awareness Month,  Insurance,  National Health Blog Post Month,  Rants

Forced to Change Meters

Yesterday I spent a little time going through the stack of mail that was waiting for me when I got back from my trip to Louisville for Thanksgiving.  While doing so, I found a letter from my insurance company that informed me that they will be dropping Contour and Breeze test strips from their formulary as of January 1, 2012.  Guess which meter and strips I use.  The insurance company will, however, still continue to offer OneTouch and Accu-Chek strips as alternatives on the formulary.

What it boils down to is my insurance company is forcing me to change to a different meter if I want them to continue paying for my test strips.  I know I should just be glad they are willing to pay for other brands, and I am for the most part, but I really like the Contour USB meter that I’m using and don’t like having my hand forced like this.

Unfortunately, I really can’t afford to pay out of pocket for the Contour strips at the moment, so I don’t have a choice but to switch meters.  Question is: Which option should I choose?

Do I go back to the OneTouch meters that I used for more than a year after I was diagnosed?  I know those meters and was pretty happy with them. On the other hand, I could also switch to one of the Accu-Chek meters.  That’s unfamiliar territory as I’ve never used them, but I’m willing to try them if they work well.

Either way, I’m going to have to acquire the new meters, so I’ll be out the time and effort to do that.  Not to mention the expense.

Ugh, I hate making decisions like this.  What do you all think I should do?  I’m open to suggestions.  Fire away.


Living with a Confusing Pancreas and a Broken Heart at age 36 #Diabetes #LADA #CongestiveHeartFailure. #MakeDiabetesVisible Creator, #ALittleHeartCanDoBigThings Creator, Advocate, Blogger, Nature Photographer.


  • Kate

    Grrrr, I hate insurance companies!! This just sucks 8 ways from Sunday. Sorry, my friend. I’m not sure I’ll be much help, but here goes. I started out using the Accucheck Active meter. I liked it just fine. I never used it for anything fancy, ie: trends and exporting data to my computer but I’m pretty sure it does that. I switched to Relion from Walmart for its cheapness. I have never tried to see if my insurance company would pay for strips so I just pay for them myself. I don’t like being controlled by my insurance company. (the jerks). So, for cheap the Walmart meter and strips work just fine, but they don’t do much with data trends etc. Helpful? Probably not, but I feel better having the chance to call insurance companies jerks. Jerks. 🙂

  • Sarah

    Personally, I’ve tried (almost) every meter out there, and I’ve still gone back to the One Touch brand. One strip fits so many different meters, so the question would be finding the meter that fits you. With Accu-Chek, they have different strips for different meters, so you’d be stuck with that one. But if you did choose to go with AC, I would get the AC Compact. Everything in one spot.
    Good luck on your meter adventure!

  • Michael Hoskins

    Sorry for the change and forced-switch, Mike. That’s frustrating and annoying indeed. It’s unfortunate that insurance companies force these decisions, and make us go to the most widely-used strips and meters out there regardless of personal choice or accuracy. I’ve always been a One Touch user myself and have actually strayed away from switching on my own for the simple reason that I know those strips are probably always going to be covered better than others. I’ve also not had TOO MANY issues with accuracy, in the world of inaccuracy as it may be. But I’ve heard many speak highly of Accu-chek. Good luck making a decision, my friend, even if it does have to be forced.

  • Colleen

    At least you got a letter. I was using a Bayer when I was first diagnosed. It was taken off the preferred list, and the first I knew about it was when the invoice showed up with the strips. Talk about a shock.
    I switched to Accu-Chek and have to say that their customer service was great.
    Now – One Touch with the Ping.

    • Mike

      Hey Colleen, I’ve received more than a few surprises like the one you did, so I understand. I’m definitely appreciative of the forewarning I received. It’s still frustrating all the same.

  • PrincessLadyBug

    I’m now using the OneTouch UltraMini (in purple) for the same reason, my insurance dropped it from their preferred list. And like Colleen, I didn’t get a letter at all. Just a call from my pharmacy letting me know they denied my refill. Did I mention it was about 8pm on a Saturday & I was completely out of strips? After I yelled at them for not contacting me directly they claimed that they would still cover some of the cost of my other brand, but I can barely afford the 20% I pay now let alone paying more.

    I’ve found that I like the OneTouch better now that I’m no longer pissed off that I was forced to switch. And I got the meter for free from OneTouch’s website. Also, some doctors have freebies to pass out so you might be able to get one that way. 🙂

  • Chris Stocker


    At the beginning of 2011 I was using Freestyle Lite strips, and my insurance company decided to change them from Tier 1 to Tier 3 meaning that they went from $50 for 90 days, to $150 to 90 days. So technically, I could continue to use them, but the One Touch strips were still Tier 1 and were only $50, so it just made sense. I used One Touch for 3 years after I was first diagnosed, and then switched to Freestyle Lite and loved them. Long story short….. I went back to the One Touch strips and I couldn’t be happier. I love the OT strips and meter and forgot how much that I loved their products. I would recommend doing what you feel more comfortable with. See if you can get your hands on a free Accu-Chek meter so you can sample with 10 strips and see if you like it or not.

    Good luck with whatever choice you do make.

  • Scott S

    Mike, I certainly can appreciate the hassle this creates. I will likely have a new insurance plan as of January 1, and with it undoubtedly comes a new formulary and “preferred” brands, so I could be saying goodbye to my Contour USB as well. However, over the years, I have seen nearly every strip brand on the market. They all have the same flaws, though I think I dislike J&J OneTouch Ultra the most because they regularly initiate tests with less than adequate samples, thereby wasting many, many test strips, plus I think J&J has lost touch with the company’s credo and these days pursues profits above all else, hence they haven’t invested a dime in their technology in years and it shows. If the choice were me, I would ask your doc (or even better, your insurance company) for some samples so you can try out the formulary brands to make an informed decision.