Guides

Get a Sensor

Each person’s healthcare set-up is differently, so we can’t tell you exactly what to do. But, we can offer guidance that may help you get the device combo that best fits your lifestyle.  


1. Choose a Sensor

Different brands of sensors (CGMs) have different features, so make sure you understand your options before making a decision.

Questions to Consider:

1. Do I want a sensor that communicates wirelessly with the brand of pump I have, or with a pump that I want?

2. Do I want a sensor that has the option to send alerts when my blood sugar goes too high or too low?

3. What alarm customization options does it have?

4. Does it communicate with smartphones, meters, or pumps?

5. How big is the sensor or transmitter that’s attached to my body?

6. What’s the communication range? How far away can I be from the the receiver and have it still read my sensor value?

7. How accurate is the device?

8. What do other people say about it?

Which sensors are available? Click on the following links to get more information:

Dexcom
FreeStyle
Medtronic

2. Understand Your Costs

The cost of sensor systems goes beyond the initial cost of the receiver; you also have to reorder sensors and transmitters regularly.

To see what these supplies might cost you over time, you'll want to check with your insurance company about two things:

1. What portion of your device and supplies will be covered by your insurance? This could be found in the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) section of your policy, or fall under the prescription benefits. 

2. Does your plan only cover Durable Medical Equipment (DME) or prescriptions after your annual deductible has been met? If so, what is your deductible? 

Usually, you can find this information by downloading your plan's Explanation of Benefits/Explanation of Coverage or by calling your insurance company. Their number is usually on the back of your insurance card. If you call the sensor company and indicate you’re interested in their sensor, they will help you confirm your level of coverage.

This option shows the cost if you don't have insurance or you decide to pay with cash. It's called the "list price".

Monthly Range

Total Startup Range

3. Get a prescription

Either during your clinic visit, or over the phone with your provider, you can request a prescription for the sensor system of your choice (receiver, transmitters, and sensors). If you're switching from meter use, you will still need a prescription for strips, but you may be able to decrease the number you use once you get started with the sensor. Tips for talking to your doctor

4. Get Insurance Approval

To get approved by your insurance company for your first sensor, you will have to prove that you qualify. Some common qualifications include: hypoglycemia unawareness, severe high and low blood sugars (>250 and <70), hospitalizations due to diabetes, complications due to diabetes, high A1c, and more. If you want more specifics, the sensor company will usually tell you exactly what your insurance requires to qualify for their device.

Many times, an insurance company will ask for a “Letter of Medical Necessity” from your healthcare provider. Most insurance companies have a template of this on their website for physicians to fill out. Request that your healthcare provider include all of your qualifications, and include any reasons that you think your blood sugar management would improve with sensor use.

Sometimes insurance companies also ask for other supporting materials such as lab tests, blood sugar logs, or clinic notes. It may feel like a lot of hoops to jump through, but having these materials organized before starting the process may help things go more smoothly.

Click the links below to get information about Medicare and private insurance coverage for:
Dexcom
Freestyle
Medtronic

5. Order

Once you have all the paperwork and approval, you’re ready to order! Have your healthcare provider send a prescription to the sensor company of your choosing or a local supplier supported by your insurance company. You’ll pay your co-payment amount (or the amount you found in Step 2) and supplies can usually be shipped directly to your doorstep!

You can say “Hi, I’m interested in getting a sensor, can you help me with that?”

Dexcom
1-800-838-3566

Abbott
1-855-632-8658

Medtronic
1-800-333-6688

6. Get Trained

Once your sensor arrives, or even as it is in transit, ask your clinic if they have any trainers available to help get you started on your new device! The sensor company may also have local or virtual trainers to assist you in getting started on their product. It can be tricky learning all the features of a sensor system, so speaking to someone face-to-face can help a lot! Online videos and the user manual for your sensor are great resources as well.