Makes sense, since it is over the counter!
Here’s my favorite quote from the story:
In a retail pharmacy, name-brand strips command high prices. But like most goods and services in American health care, that number doesn’t reflect what most people pay.
The sticker price is the result of behind-the-scenes negotiations between the strips’ manufacturer and insurers. Manufacturers set a high list price and then negotiate to become an insurer’s preferred supplier by offering a hefty rebate.
These transactions are invisible to the insured consumer, who might cover a copay, at most. But the arrangement leaves the uninsured — those least able to pay — paying sky-high sticker prices out of pocket. Also left out are the underinsured, who may need to first satisfy a high deductible.
For a patient testing their blood many times a day, paying for strips out-of-pocket could add up to thousands of dollars a year. Small wonder, then, that a gray market thrives. The middlemen buy extras from people who obtained strips through insurance, at little cost to themselves, and then resell to the less fortunate.
That sums it up nicely, for me. (edited to include 2 more paragraphs on consequences of this arrangement)
On another forum, a member expressed outrage at how some unscrupulous vendor was reselling test strips marked, “for Medicare and Medicaid use only” on Ebay. Oh, the horror!
I don’t have any compunction buying them from eBay because I am on Medicare!
I find the manufacturer’s notices of this sort humorous, “Medicare and Medicaid use only”…“export from Canada prohibited”, etc, etc. I translate these as a challenge, sort of like them saying, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” per Wizard of Oz