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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Specialties & Departments > Glucose Meter

Glucose Meter Cost

How Much Does a Glucose Meter Cost?

low costLow: With Insurance $5-$40+average costMedium: Without Insurance $9-$80+high costHigh: For Visually Impaired $600-$1,000+
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A home glucose monitor is a requirement for people with diabetes and other blood sugar disorders. The machine allows the patient to measure the concentration of glucose in their blood, to help prevent medical complications resulting from their disease. Insurance companies have various policies regarding coverage of the meter and the test strips, so check with an insurance representative before purchasing a meter.

Typical costs:

  • Blood glucose meters vary tremendously. For those without insurance, a meter can cost between $8.99 and $1,150, but averages $20-$80. While all meters perform the same function, the cost depends primarily on the meter's extra features. According to the American Diabetes Association[1] the least expensive blood glucose meters often simply provide a digital display of the results. More expensive blood glucose meters can store several months of readings and can communicate with a computer so that the patient can download printable datasets to share with their physician. The most expensive blood glucose meter on the market is called the Accu-Chek Voicemate Blood Glucose Monitor[2] . This meter, which sells for just over $600 to more than $1,000, is designed for the visually impaired and offers a variety of features, including voiced instructions (which are also available in Spanish) and the ability to store numerous readings. Individuals with insurance will pay typical copays and coinsurance rates, which can range from $5 to 50 percent of the cost for the device.
  • Blood glucose meters require the purchase of test strips, which a diabetic patient could use up to 12 times a day. Test strips are specific to the blood glucose meter and range in cost from $.35 each to $1 each, according to an article published in the Medical Laboratory Observer[3] . Individuals with insurance coverage for the test strip packages can expect to pay typical copays and coinsurance rates, which can range from $5 to $50.
  • Lancets (small, thin needles used to puncture the skin) are required to test a patient's blood sugar, and cost between $5 and $22 per 100 lancets, depending upon the features.Some lancets have a setting for various depths of penetration. Others are thinner and sharper, which can mean less pain during testing.
Related articles: Diabetes Medication, Insulin Pump

What should be included:
  • Each blood glucose meter should include the meter itself, a logbook to record results, test strips and lancets. According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles[4] , lancets should only be used once. However, the medical center reports, if money is an issue, a lancet can be reused for up to a week.
  • Some blood glucose meteres include a digital display for the test results or cords that connect the machine to a computer so readings can be downloaded. Each meter package should include instructions for use. Some meters, according to the American Diabetes Association[5] , include an instructional video.
Additional costs:
  • The Environmental Protection Agency[6] urges patients to dispose of their used lancets properly. Many communities have free medical waste disposal programs. Patients can find out if their community offers a program by visiting the website for the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal[7] . If there is no program available, several companies offer mail-back needle disposal programs for a fee. Fees for this service vary tremendously, depending upon the patient's location and disposal needs.
  • A patient's blood glucose monitor will likely use batteries to operate. The cost for replacing these batteries will depend upon the unit, testing frequency and the type of battery required.
Shopping for a glucose meter:
  • A prescription is not required to purchase a home glucose testing kit. Kits are available at most local pharmacies and through various online retailers. However, experts at the University of California, San Francisco[8] recommend that patients talk to their doctor about how to use the machine and what to do based on the test results.
  • According to the American Diabetes Association[9] some insurance companies will cover the cost of the monitor, but not the test strips -- or vice versa. Contact an insurance representative to discuss coverage prior to making a purchase.
  • Home glucose monitoring systems vary tremendously. The Food and Drug Administration[10] recommends that buyers compare home monitors by the amount of blood needed for testing, the time it takes to test, the monitor's ability to store test results, cost of the monitor and the cost of the test strips.
  • Test strips are often the most costly element of home blood glucose testing. According to the American Diabetes Association[11] the least costly monitor could come with the most costly test strips.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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