A FREE blood glucose meter? The Internet is loaded with free glucose monitor offers. All you have to do is fill out a simple form and…Voila!…your monitor is on its way to you. But, is anything really ever free?
I mean, why would anyone give you something for free, while others pay for it? Are there any “catches”? Are some offers better than others?
I’ll take a look at the many different ways to score a free meter and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
Before we delve into the “nitty gritty”, you should understand that that are two main reasons any given company will provide you with a free meter.
Marketing: They want to get your name, contact information and as much other information about you as they can. You will be sent countless emails and mailing urging you to buy this product or that. You are a valuable commodity!
Test Strips: For most medical supply companies (and glucose meter manufacturers), they want you to buy the test strips from them. The money they lose giving you a free meter is inconsequential compared with the money they make from selling you test strips.
Please do not take either of these reasons as being negative. It simply is how the game is played. I will explain below how these can work to your advantage or disadvantage.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO GET A FREE MONITOR
The following ways to get a free blood glucose meter are in no particular order. So, read through the list and see if any given method works better for you.
1. Call Glucose Meter Company. Look, these companies want your business. Ask them if they have a free meter program. They may say no, but some will say yes.
2. Ask Your Doctor, CDE, Nutritionist or Other Health Care Provider. Many health care providers can refer you to free meter programs, either through the meter company or a medical supply company.
3. Private Insurance. Call your insurance company. They don’t want to spend any more money on you than they have to. They can set you up sometimes with free (or at least discounted) meters and test strips through preferred suppliers.
4. Medicare. Now, this is the grand daddy of all free meter give away opportunities. The vast majority of free offers on the Internet have some fine print at the bottom. Your free meter is conditioned upon you qualifying under Medicare (or sometimes private health insurance). If you qualify, they typically will give you the meter, but then require you to purchase all your testing supplies (strips, lancet, etc.) from them for a given period of time.
FYI- To be eligible under Medicare (as of 2012), you typically have to be over 65 and enrolled in Part B. For those of you who do not know, Part B requires, amongst other things, that you pay a monthly stipend. So, don’t join Part B just because of the discounted test strips, until you look at all your health care expenses.
5. Free With No Insurance. This type of offer comes in two varieties, or a combination of the two. First, you get a free meter, but you have to commit to buying a certain amount of testing supplies from them, sometimes on a per month basis. Second, they want your information so they can sell it to diabetes product companies, who will in turn market their products to you.
Under the first scenario, you need to read the fine print. Under the second scenario, well, you didn’t really think free was free did you? You get the meter and a full mailbox. There are worst things in life!
PITFALLS AND TRAPS FOR THE UNWARY
What are the pitfalls of getting a free Blood Glucose Meter? Obviously, whomever you do business with you want them to be reputable.
If you are okay with committing to purchasing from one company for your testing supplies, make sure they deliver timely and for the price quoted. And, as demonstrated below, make sure the pricing is good.
The bigger issue is the amount of time you have to commit to buying from a company and the price you have to pay. Let’s look at an example:
Real World Example (Or, math is fun!)
Free: $25 glucose meter.
Required Contract: 1 year with a purchase of one 50 test strip box a month at $40 a box. These strips have a suggested retail price of $55.
Seems like a good deal, right? What if I told you that this same box of strips sold for $25 on amazon.com?
You just paid $155 for the “FREE” glucose meter!!!
You overpaid for the strips by $15 a month times 12 months. This equals $180 ($15 x 12). If you subtract out the price of the meter (if you had paid for it yourself), then you would have saved $155 ($180-$25) by not getting the free meter and shopping around for the best test strip deals.
So, the bottom line is know what deal you are getting before you commit to that free blood glucose meter.
Click on the following links to compare all glucose meters and the best diabetic test strip deals.
By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed June 2012.