What is the best glucose (BG) meter whose strips your insurance company will pay for?
We have frequently had threads about the best BG meter, or the best BG meter for running, or travel. For instance, I think @Eric and @Michel have researched for many hours the very best BG meters in existence, and those with the best price-performance combination, and even purchased and tested them.
But I don’t care which is absolutely the best: strips cost a lot of money, and, for many of us, we are bound to choose from glucose meters that are allowed by our insurance companies. So I went back to all the threads we had about BG meters, and the links we published, and reviewed the selections. Of all the presentations I have seen, this one, recently uploaded by @Michel, is the easiest to figure out:
Accuracy and availability discussion
This table shows results from a 2016 study. It roughly reflects the other tests that we have referenced at one time or another, although, when I look at all other tests I went through, I feel the two Accu-Chek meters, the Nano and the Aviva, come on top more often than the Contour Next, which is also almost always among the top. However, from what people have written in the forums, none of these meters (particularly the Accu-Cheks) are frequently allowed by North American insurance companies.
The Freestyle and the OneTouch, on the other hand, are often available on the formulary. This table lists the OneTouch VerioIQ next after the Contour, which I understand has the same strip engine as the OneTouch Verio. Other tests, however, often list some of the Freestyle meters ahead of the Verio, so I will rate them ahead of the Verio.
Of the rest of the list (including some additional"sister" meters), the meters frequently listed by our members are the OneTouch meters (Verio, VerioIQ, and Ultra/Ultra2), the Frestyle Freedom, Freestyle Freedom Lite and Freestyle Lite, and the ReliOn Prime.
So, based on the data published on the forum so far, these are the best choices:
1. Meters rarely allowed
If you can get them paid for, or if you can afford the out-of-pocket cost, the most accurate overall probably are the Accu-Chek Nano, the Accu-Check Aviva and the Contour Next. Of these three, the Contour Next strips are the cheapest by far on Amazon (about $20/100 when bought in batches of 300).
2. If you can get the Freestyle family in your formulary
The Freestyle Freedom strips are embedded in the Omnipod PDM, so, if it is your system, you have no choice but to use it. However, the company specifically says that the Freedom strips are not compatible with the Freestyle Freedom Lite and the Freestyle Lite, and there are many DOC threads from several years ago that write the same thing and find a lack of accuracy when you do so. So, if you use the Omnipod, you must use the Freestyle Freedom.
If you don’t use the Omnipod, you cannot use the Freestyle Freedom because it is not for sale in North America, so you must use the Freestyle Freedom Lite or the Freestyle Lite (they both use the same strips). This blog compare them: the Freestyle freedom Lite has bigger numbers and is larger, while the Freestyle Lite is smaller and has a light—I like this one best, but, if you have poor vision and don’t care about a light, the Freestyle freedom Lite might be your favorite choice.
We have both Freestyle Freedoms and Freestyle Lites. Their size is comparable, but the Lite has a light, a useful feature. One of our Freedom meters was DOA, and Abbott replaced it (a good thing since they are not for sale any more).
Please note that @Eric says the Freestyle Freedom strips work on the Freestyle Lite meter (and therefore in the other Lite meter as well), but the company line is that you should not.
3. If you can only get the OneTouch meters in your formulary
In that case, the best choice is the OneTouch VerioIQ or the OneTouch Verio, both of which (they have the same strip engine) are more accurate than the other OneTouch meters, in particular the Ultra/Ultra 2. We have both the Verio and the Ultra. The Verio is larger, but more accurate, and uses much less blood than the Ultra2. It does not use the same strips as the Ultra 2. The Ultra/Ultra2 is more compact but less accurate, and requires more blood.
As for the VerioIQ and the Verio, the VerioIQ is larger and bulkier, with a limited ability to recognize some BG patterns. The biggest difference is that the VerioIQ is rechargeable, while the Verio is battery-operated. We do own a VerioIQ but have never used it, as we don’t like the need to recharge for multiple hours.
As a note, we have seen one Verio meter break down every year in the past 2 years.
4. Your don’t have BG meters on your insurance formulary
The cheapest strips whose BG meter is also reasonably well rated are the ReliOn Prime strips, available at Walmart only, generally for less than $18 per 100.
It is sometimes possible to find cheaper strips on Amazon for the True Metrix meter, but this meter has been panned by many threads or blogs due to inaccuracy, so I only mention its name as an FYI.
There you have it, then—the most cost efficient BG meters that fit your insurance formulary!
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