Finding affordable diabetes supplies has always been daunting. Obamacare and the Competitive Bidding Program only exacerbated the problem by eliminating competition and concentrating market power. With the holidays around the corner, we decided to share some secrets on finding affordable test strips and monitoring supplies.
There’s a huge difference between affordable and cheap.
Cheap meters and strips are available everywhere. Some models include Prodigy, ReliOn, Easy Touch, Embrace, TRUEtest, Fora V12, and more. With a few exceptions, you get what you pay for. You‘ll save money, but sacrifice quality, accuracy, and convenience. Some strips require so much blood that a lancet won’ do the trick. You need a vampire.
To find top brands at affordable rates, we recommend these alternatives:
BUYING TEST STRIPS ON AMAZON
Amazon is the most reliable online supplier of many products, including test strips and lancets. Most pharmacies and medical supply stores charge much higher prices for OTC supplies. According to Consumer Reports, a single box of the top brands cost approximately $150 retail. On Amazon, a box of One Touch Ultra Blue costs $61.80.
Some individuals may feel uncomfortable buying supplies online. After all, how do you know if the strips have been stored properly? What if they’re expired or the seal is broken? To protect buyers from careless sellers, Amazon developed a unique service called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
Fulfillment By Amazon
What’s so great about FBA? First and foremost, it prevents sloppy and irresponsible sellers from jeopardizing your health. When you buy from an FBA Seller, Amazon handles all the storage, packing, shipping, and even customer service. This is huge for test strips and other items with expiration dates and storage requirements.
In addition, all FBA items qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping, Amazon Prime, and overnight shipping. So how do you find these FBA Sellers? It tells you right on the product page. For FBA Sellers like us, it will say “Sold by Teststripz and Fulfilled by Amazon” (refer to screenshot below).
BUYING TEST STRIPS ON EBAY
For reasonable prices and reliable service, stick with Amazon. If you’re looking for a steal or a deal, then eBay is your best bet. Third party software and applications exist that provide some incredible buying opportunities. My two favorites are Missing-Auctions and EZ Sniper.
It may be hard to believe, but eBay sellers constantly post auctions with misspelled words. Whatever the reason, these misspelled eBay items are very difficult to find without a specialized search tool such as Missing-Auctions.com.
Enter a brand name and hit search… based on the term you enter, it finds all possible misspellings and redirects you to eBay. In the example below, I did a search for Freestyle Lite. Sure enough, it pulled up some auctions with misspellings. In the Screenshot below, notice how Freesstyle is misspelled.
While Missing-Auctions helps you find great deals on eBay, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll win them. Ever lose an auction at the last second to another bidder? It’s a waste of time and infuriating. No more. You simply choose a maximum your willing to pay, and EZ sniper will place automatic bids at the last second of an auction. This gives your competition no time to respond to your bid. And, because your bid is not revealed until the final seconds of the auction, your knowledge of the item’s value is kept private.
EZ Sniper can be a great companion to Missing-Auctions. I found an auction for 200 Freestyle Lite Test Strips. (Which had ‘Freestyle’ spelled as ‘Freestlye’)
With 7 minutes left in the auction, there were only 2 bids and the price was still just $1. In the screenshot below, you can see that a serious bidding war took place at the end of the auction. I wasn’t even logged into eBay when the auction ended… but I won it all the same.
You pay the amount the auction ends at… this allows smart buyers to bid on several auctions at prices you know you can afford. By combining Missing-Auctions and EZ Sniper, I won 200 brand new Freestyle Lite test strips for $49.11 (Plus $10 shipping). Not bad at all.
I know this is a lot to take in. But the fact remains that test trips and other supplies can be purchased relatively cheaply if you use the right tools.
I am not a Doctor, and these may not be suitable alternatives for some people. Always consult your Physician before you buy supplies from a 3rd party. Having said that… managing diabetes will always be your responsibility. You should have options.