Patient Assistance Programs
If test strips costs are taking a bite out of your budget, consider joining a patient assistance program. If you opt to use a meter and strips system that is not on your insurance company’s preferred list, these programs, created by test strip manufacturers, can pay the difference in co-pay cost.
For instance, monthly strips not on your insurer’s preferred list may cost $50 out of pocket, but with the help of a co-pay equalization program you might only have to shell out the $15 co-pay that preferred strips cost. The program would pay the difference: $35.
Here are a couple of the most popular programs:
Through the Accu-Chek Preferred Savings Program, people can pay the preferred co-pay price on Accu-Chek test strips, even if the strips aren’t covered by their pharmacy benefits, says Bill McKee, a marketing manager at Roche.
Check Eligibility. Anyone with commercial health insurance is qualified for the program. The exception: Massachusetts has regulations that limit pharmaceutical companies’ ability to offer savings programs, which makes people who live there ineligible. People who have public or government-provided health coverage, such as Medicaid, Medicare, or Medicare Advantage, which pays for part or all of a test strip prescription, are not eligible. People who pay out of pocket don’t qualify either.
Get It. Request a card from your health care provider, pharmacist, or online here. Present the card with your test strip prescription each time you visit the pharmacy for refills. There’s no expiration date on the program, so you can use the card as long as you’d like.
Save Up. If Accu-Chek test strips aren’t on your insurer’s preferred list and your co-pay is more than $45, you can save up to $50 per refill with this program. Savings is based on the difference between your usual co-pay and the preferred co-pay cost. So if Accu-Chek strips cost $100 on your plan and the preferred co-pay is $30, Roche would cover $50 of the $70 difference. You’d pay the remainder ($20) plus the preferred co-pay cost ($30), a total of $50.
A similar program exists for Abbott’s strips as part of the FreeStyle Promise Program.
Check Eligibility. People with commercial insurance and those who pay out of pocket qualify for the free card. Those with public or government-provided health coverage (such as Medicaid and Medicare) and residents of Massachusetts are not eligible.
Get It. Request a card and free meter online here. Cards are also available through health care professionals. Present the card with a prescription for strips at the pharmacy to receive your discount.
Save Up. According to the company, you can pay as low as $15 per prescription—usually a month’s worth of strips—with the card, though savings vary based on insurance provider and the amount of test strips purchased. The maximum discount is $25 for 50-strip containers and $50 for containers of 100 or more.
While Lifescan doesn’t offer programs directly and Bayer did not respond to our inquiries, other test strip companies may offer patient discount programs. Check with your strip manufacturer to see what it offers.
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