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Although there are many glucose monitors and meters out there, each one has different features that cater to users’ specific needs. Finding the right glucose monitor can help you manage diabetes, find the habits that encourage healthy glucose levels, and get better support from health care providers.
As of 2019, around 15.9 million adults ages 65 and over had diabetes.1 Whether you or a loved one are looking for the right glucose monitor, it’s important to make sure they’re accurate, senior-friendly, and cost-effective.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about choosing the best glucose monitor, we have you covered. In this review, we’ll take a look at the best glucose monitors. We’ll also go over tips for choosing the best monitors, the costs involved, and Medicare coverage for glucose monitors.
The Best Glucose Monitors
With so many glucose monitors to choose from, finding the best one can be difficult. We picked out the top choices for glucose monitors so you can be confident when you purchase one. We reviewed the industry’s most popular monitors and meters, and we looked at criteria, including ease of use, price, features, and accuracy. Read on to see the brands we selected!
A glucose meter is a small device that measures how much sugar (glucose) is in your blood. It’s used to help people with diabetes by giving them an instant reading on their blood sugar levels. Since blood sugar levels are affected by exercise, food, medications, stress, and other factors, it’s helpful to have a way to track these changes. With the assistance of a glucose meter, individuals can keep their blood sugar in the right range throughout the day.
There are two different types of glucose meters: standard and continuous. Read on to find out the difference between these glucose meters.
A standard glucose meter measures glucose levels by reading a small blood sample. To get the sample, you use a lancet to create a puncture in the skin, and put the droplets of blood on a test strip. The glucose meter then reads the test strip and displays the blood sugar level on a monitor.
A continuous glucose monitor measures your blood sugar levels by measuring your interstitial glucose level, which is the glucose found in the fluid between your cells. To use it, you wear a sensor that tests glucose every few minutes. As it measures your blood glucose levels, you can see the information on a monitor. Some of these monitors also send the information to a smartphone or tablet. Continuous glucose meters are more commonly used by individuals with Type 1 diabetes.
Did You Know? If you or a loved one needs extra assistance with diabetes care, you can consider home care from a nurse. With home care, a licensed medical professional visits your home to administer medical care.
When it comes to picking the best glucose monitor or meter for you, there are important things to consider. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you look for a glucose monitor:
As a rule of thumb, glucose monitors that are FDA-approved are more likely to be accurate. However, there are also non FDA-approved monitors and meters that also give accurate readings. If you’re not sure about which one is best, you can always double-check with a doctor for approval.
You can also look for reputable brands when looking for a monitor. Their models are usually widely used by people with diabetes, offer more information about their products, and are more reliable in general.
Continuous glucose monitors usually cost somewhere around $1,000 to several thousand dollars per year, depending on the brand you buy. If you’re going to use one, you’ll need to get a receiver or reader, replaceable sensors, and a transmitter. While you only need to purchase the receiver once, the sensors and transmitters need to be replaced regularly.
FYI: Some popular brands offer a discount on their glucose monitors, even if Medicare or your insurance doesn’t cover it. Visit the brand’s site to find out if they have a special deal.
Blood glucose meters tend to cost around $15 to $50. Test strips for the meters also make up a big part of the cost, since you need to use one for every blood glucose reading. They can cost anywhere from 40 cents to $1 per strip. While the most basic models are on the lower end of the price range, you’ll pay extra for more features. This includes memory storage, backlit screens, and reminder alarms.
Both blood glucose monitors and continuous glucose monitors are covered by Medicare Part B. You can qualify for coverage if you meet these requirements:
Once these requirements are met, you’ll only pay for 20 percent of the monitor and supplies. This includes blood glucose meters and test strips, continuous glucose monitors, sensors, and transmitters.2
If you need more coverage in addition to your Medicare plan, consider Medigap. Also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance, it can help lower out-of-pocket expenses! Visit our list of the best Medigap plans for people with diabetes to learn more.
The number of supplies covered will also depend on whether you need insulin to manage diabetes. For example, if you are a Medicare beneficiary with diabetes who uses insulin, you can get up to 300 test strips and 300 lancets every three months. If you are a beneficiary with diabetes who doesn’t use insulin, you can get up to 100 test strips and 100 lancets every three months.
For over five years, Taylor has been writing, editing, and researching products and services covering topics such as senior care and technology, internet and the digital divide, TV and entertainment, and education. Her work has been cited by publications such as Forbes,… Learn More About Taylor Shuman
American Diabetes Association. (2019). Statistics About Diabetes.
Medicare.gov. (2023) Blood sugar monitors.
American Diabetes Association. Medicare.