Buying a Freestyle Libre – What is the Freestyle Libre 14 Day System and Sensor Cost?

Freestyle Libre 14 Day System Reader showing graph and glucose trend
It has been very helpful to see a graph of my glucose levels.
Disclaimer:

This website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Read full disclaimer.

Quick answer:

On Aug 7, 2019, my local Costco quoted me the cash price of $80.75 for the Reader (a one time cost), and $139.84 for 2 sensors (each 14 day sensor is $69.92)  This is the cash price (no insurance).  I ended up paying a copay of $74.99 for the 2 sensors and $64.99 for the reader.

Full story…

I have been wanting a continuous glucose meter (CGM) for awhile, as I would like to be able to more easily monitor my blood sugar.  Yesterday I finally purchased the Freestyle Libre 14 Day System and it was much cheaper than I thought it would be.  I wish it had been easier to obtain and easier to figure out the cost for.  It particularly irks me that their website advertises a specific cost at “participating pharmacies” but then has NO information about which pharmacies those are!  It just says that the participating pharmacies are subject to change…

For some back story, I first tried to get a Freestyle Libre by filling out a form on their website.  They were supposed to contact my doctor and get me a prescription.  That didn’t work.

Freestyle Libre vs Dexcom CGM

At my next appointment, I told my endocrinologist about how I wanted the Freestyle Libre and she instead recommended that I get a Dexcom CGM because it has alarms and can alert me of hypoglycemia.  The Freestyle Libre 14 Day System doesn’t have alarms, so therefore she didn’t want to recommend that one for me.  She told me that I could fill out some paperwork and someone would contact me with pricing.   I was contacted by a medical supplies company and quoted the cost of $1600!   Because I haven’t yet reached my deductible, I would be responsible for the full cost.   I said no, not now, because $1600 wasn’t in my budget.

(Note: Alarms are VERY important for people with hypoglycemia unawareness, so if that applies to you, look into the Dexcom one.  But for me, I can tell when my glucose is getting low because I get shaky/anxious/etc.  See my article: Hypoglycemia: People experience if differently.)

At my next doctor appointment, I told her that I didn’t buy the Dexcom CGM because of the cost, and have just been using a regular blood glucose meter (see my review of the One Touch Verio Flex Meter).  She wrote me a prescription for the Freestyle Libre System and Sensors and told me that her other patients said that the cost varied by location, and she name dropped Walmart.  She quoted a price that was only in the low hundreds of dollars, not thousands.  That made me optimistic.

I did some Price Comparison

Back home with my prescription, I called around for prices.  My phone calls resulted in the following information:

Walmart – $85 for the Reader (a one time cost), and $261 for 2 sensors.  This is the cash price (no insurance).

Costco – $80.75 for the Reader (a one time cost), and $139.84 for 2 sensors (each 14 day sensor is $69.92)  This is the cash price (no insurance).

CVS Caremark Mail Order Pharmacy – I called them and they told me that they do not carry the Freestyle Libre because it is covered under medical and not pharmacy.  This is very confusing to me — why would other pharmacies carry it then?

I also tried to research the cost using Aetna’s Website Pharmacy Cost Finder, but it could not locate the Freestyle Libre 14 Day System.  I also previously emailed Aetna, and asked them about the cost of a CGM.  They responded with information about regular glucose meters instead.  Not helpful!

A Nice Surprise at the Cash Register

Armed with this information, I brought my Freestyle Libre 14 Day prescriptions to Costco, and also gave them my Aetna insurance card, but told them that I wanted to buy it even if my insurance didn’t cover it.  (I was starting to believe that my insurance wouldn’t cover it, since it was considered medical and I hadn’t reached my deductible yet.)

To my surprise, my Aetna PPO insurance DID cover it partially, and I only had to pay a reduced copayment amount!  I ended up paying 64.99 for the reader and $74.99 for the two 14 day sensors.

Concerned about whether it will stay on for 14 days?  Try CGM TAPE!

After purchasing, the pharmacist consulted with me and told me that if it falls out, it can’t be put back on.  Therefore, I’m buying Simpatch Waterproof Adhesive, CGM Tape to put over it, to help hold it in place, because the sensors are too expensive to not last the full 14 days.  I’ll let you know how that works out!

Update:  I’ve been wearing the Sensor with the CGM tape over it, and it has been quite comfortable.  I’m 4 days into it, and it has stayed on fully and worked consistently.

Learn more about the Freestyle Libre 14 Day System

Here are some helpful videos.  I was nervous about putting it on, but it turned out to be easy and painless.  I compared it with the results from my glucose meter and found the results to be quite similar.

 

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