| Tue, Nov 28, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

2 Ways You Could Save on Blood Sugar Test Strips

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

woman reading mail at mailbox_assetID#53800Blood sugar testing is a way to keep track of how well diabetes is being managed. Test results help to show how food, physical activity and diabetes medications affect blood sugar.

The number of blood sugar tests a person with diabetes may do varies. It depends on the treatment plan. Some people test their blood sugar several times a day. Others test less often. Sometimes extra tests may be needed, such as when starting a new medication or adjusting an insulin dose.

Every blood sugar test uses a test strip. Every box of strips usually comes with a cost–typically a 20% co-insurance payment after the Part B deductible. It could be tempting to skip tests if strips start to cost too much.

Medicare understands how important regular testing is to diabetes self-management. There is now a competitive bidding process that helps Medicare select suppliers that meet its standards for the quality and cost of diabetic supplies.

Here are two ways that you can get the blood sugar test strips you need at the lower cost that Medicare’s competitive bidding process offers.

1. Order blood sugar test strips from a Medicare contracted mail-order supplier.

Medicare has a mail-order program for diabetic testing supplies. Medicare sets the amount it will pay based on bids from suppliers. Contracted suppliers may not charge you more than 20% co-insurance on the Medicare-approved amount.

You can enter your zip code to find a supplier on the Medicare web site. Check the box for “Mail-Order Diabetic Supplies,” then scroll down and click the Search button. You’ll get a list of contracted suppliers.

You’ll need to check each supplier to see which ones carry what you need. You can usually transfer your prescription to any supplier. Test strips or other diabetic supplies you order can then be mailed to you.

2. Buy blood sugar test strips at a pharmacy that accepts Medicare assignment.

Medicare pays the same amount for diabetic supplies whether you buy them through the mail-order program or from a local pharmacy. You just need to use a pharmacy that accepts Medicare assignment; pharmacies that don’t may charge more than the Medicare-approved amount. You could be responsible for any additional cost.


Testing blood sugar regularly is an important part of diabetes self-management. Don’t let the cost of test strips get in the way. Take advantage of the lower cost that Medicare’s competitive bidding process offers by using a contracted supplier.

If you have a Medicare Advantage (Pat C) plan, you need to make sure to get your diabetic supplies from a supplier that works with your plan. Call your plan for more information.

Related Content

Have Diabetes? Medicare Parts B and D Have You Covered

Medicare Covers Diabetes Self-Management Training Services

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.


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