Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of inchoate writing on photography, coffee, and geekery.

Menu Close

Why I’m saying “goodbye” to the iBGStar

I’m writing this blog post with a bit of regret. The iBGStar is the one glucometer that has got me testing my blood glucose (BG) 5-6 times a day. I’m an Apple geek. Geeks love technology and the iBGStar is a cool piece of technology that plugs into the one device I always have with me – my iPhone. The iBGStar is sleek, compact and lightweight. It fits snugly on the bottom of my iPhone. I can take my BG reading directly while the iBGStar is attached or download data later. I can add little notes to each reading as well as enter how many carbohydrates I’m about to eat and how much insulin I’m taking. I can graph my readings over 7, 30, or 90 day intervals and export my data (via CSV and email) for further analysis. I love this meter.

However, I’ve found one significant downside – at least for me – to the iBGStar. The BGStar test strips are $67 for a 50 count bottle. As I mentioned I test 5-6 times a day. A bottle of test strips lasts about 10 days. A month of testing will cost me $201. Yike! Things wouldn’t be so bad if I could get these through my health insurer. I tried to. However, I received a note from them indicating that they are unable to obtain any test strips. That’s the second problem with the iBGStar. The test strips are available exclusively through Walgreens. My insurance company can’t obtain any and hence can’t provide coverage. There are no Walgreens in my town.

I bought the iBGStar because I could have access to my meter data. None of the other meters I’ve used in the past allow export of data to a Mac. My initial plan was to buy the strips out of pocket for a short while and submit claims to the insurance company. I had hoped that the constraint on supply would be temporary. However, it’s been a few months and I don’t expect the situation will change soon. It’s not convenient to drive the 15-20 minutes every time I run out of strips. It’s not convenient to collect receipts and mail claim forms to the health insurer every month. It’s just not worth it.

I’m sorry Sanofi. You’ve failed me. I can not continue to use this device. I’m moving on. Time to check out the Contour USB and the Accu-chek Nano.