FreeStyle Libre 2 Now More Easily Accessible for Military Members Through TRICARE


 

This week, Abbott announced that for military members, families, and veterans with TRICARE health coverage, access to obtaining their FreeStyle Libre 2 will now be easier. TRICARE members previously only had access to the FreeStyle Libre 2 by prescription refills through durable medical equipment coverage, which typically offers significantly less cost coverage—usually only 50% of the cost of the item or less.

Now, the FreeStyle Libre 2 will be included in TRICARE’s pharmacy benefits brand-name formulary, which will simplify accessibility via retail pharmacies, military treatment facilities, and home delivery via mail order pharmacy benefits. This change will provide more options for individuals to get their CGM prescriptions at a more affordable price. Depending on the plan, individuals may have a zero copay for their CGM or pay as little as $34 for a 90-day supply through home delivery.

Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have been game changers for helping individuals better manage their diabetes. A medical device normally worn on the back of the arm or on the belly, CGMs continuously measure blood glucose levels and send the readings to a small handheld monitor or even your cell phone. Not having to pinch your finger to test your blood sugar levels is helping make living with diabetes just a bit easier!

Not only have CGMs relieved some of the burden of diabetes on daily life, but it has also helped people improve their diabetes management. Several studies looking into the benefits of CGM use have collectively shown that it helps reduce the risk and frequency of hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic events in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as lowering mean glucose and A1c levels.

By being able to get real-time measurements all day, people with diabetes are now able to see how their blood sugar levels change while they sleep; an option never available before. Getting data like daily patterns in blood glucose levels can help individuals make informed decisions around which foods to eat, when to workout, and even changes to their medication with their providers.

However, despite its helpfulness, not everyone is using a CGM. Why?

As a newer technology, many doctors may not prescribe CGMs to newly diagnosed individuals or even know that a patient is interested. Another reason people with diabetes may not be using a CGM is because they do not have access to it. Accessibility to CGMs can be limited due to obstacles with insurances. Some insurances will only cover the cost of a CGM if the person is using insulin or an injected medication at least 3 times a day. This limits who can even qualify for receiving a CGM.

But if you are one of the lucky few who do qualify for a CGM through your insurance, you may still not be able to afford it. Most CGMs are not included in the pharmacy benefits formulary covered by insurances, so copays can still be expensive. Some insurance companies prefer one brand of CGM over another, so people are limited to only using one type as well. The cost of a sensor, transmitter, and monitor may be out of reach for many people.

With more people with diabetes showing interest and using CGMs, companies have tried to make them more accessible and affordable through trial programs such as Hello, Dexcom’s 10-day free trial and the MyFreeStyle 14-day free trial. For current and past members of the military, and their families, getting a CGM is going to get simpler starting in April 2022.

If you or your loved one is a member of TRICARE health coverage and is interested in obtaining a FreeStyle Libre 2 CGM, make a reminder to call your doctor or to schedule an appointment this upcoming April to get a prescription for one.

This content mentions Abbott, an active partner of Beyond Type 1.
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WRITTEN BY Liz Cambron-Kopco, POSTED 03/03/22, UPDATED 04/21/22

Liz has been living with type 2 diabetes since 2014, but grew up surrounded by it as a first-generation Mexican-American. With a bug for research, Liz pursued a PhD in molecular biology and spent her early career studying insulin signalling in invertebrates to understand how insects' tiny little bodies work. Along with advocating for women and girls in STEM, Liz shares her personal journey with diabetes on her social media platforms to help teach people to become their own advocates. Her passion for advocacy led her to join the Beyond Type 1 team. When she's not advocating, Liz enjoys hiking with her husband and their terrier/schnauzer mixed pup Burberry.