For their assessment, they examined the insurance data of 370,740 people with Type 2 diabetes, who were not taking insulin and who were filling prescriptions for test strips three or more times a year. They also observed those who didn’t fill any.
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After analyzing the results, they found 23 percent of the subjects had at least three insurance claims for test strips. Nearly 60 percent of those folks were potentially using them inappropriately, the scientists said.
Of those who had at least three insurance claims for test strips, about 20 percent of them didn’t fill any prescriptions for diabetes medications. And 43 percent filled prescriptions only for medicines that didn’t cause hypoglycemia.
“After the patient has found the dose of these medications needed to keep their sugar levels stable, they don’t need to do daily testing,” the team wrote in a statement. “But even though these two groups of patients didn’t need to be testing daily, they were using an average of two test strips a day.”
The analysts also considered the price of these medications. While test strips cost about $18 in copays, they said it’s an unnecessary purchase for those who don’t need to track their glucose levels daily.
“Health care costs and access to care are an important issue for many Americans,” the team said. “The savings that result from reducing the use of unnecessary care – such as needless home blood sugar testing - can create ‘headroom’ to spend more on those clinical services that we need to buy more often.”
Want to learn more about the findings? Take a look at the full assessment here.
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