Companies for testing supplies and INR reporting

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almost_hectic

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Wanted to take a quick survey and see who uses a service to report their INR test results—and also supplies them with a meter and test strips. When I first got on Coumadin 6 years ago, after valve surgery, I contacted Roche Diagnostics directly. They provided the testing machine and test strips, got it all approved by my insurance/doctor and had a service all set up whereby I would report my test results online. They would keep a record of my results and if ever out of range would contact my cardiologist and they would then contact me to adjust dosage or inquire why I may have been out of bounds. The service worked great and through my insurance cost me nothing out of pocket.

Roche had sold that service off to a private company, who then sold to another company, who is now owned by Phillips and is changing the name to CardioNet, previously BiotTel. They sent me a letter informing as such and that it may now cost more, but provided no details. Meanwhile I started a new job and have new insurance. Im having trouble verifying my coverage for the service and the seem to be of no help in doing so. At least not in a manner thats no super slow so Im reluctant to report results and be sent a bill for them because they haven't approved my new insurance.

Anyway what I was getting to is. Do any of you have such a service and what company provides it? My current company is Biotel INR, but is changing their name to CardioNet. Im not super impressed with their customer service but maybe they will get that ironed out. Meanwhile I thought maybe its time to see what alternatives are out there. I found one company who does the same thing called Acelis Connected Health. They provide a meter, strips and record results via the web and report any instance to my doctor. Were super nice on the phone as well. Anyone know of Acelis or a similar service? Id love to hear about who else does this, depending on my insurance it may dictate who I choose.
 
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almost_hectic

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As I have been investigating services and finding out cost, I learned that my current service BioTel/CardioNet bills my insurance $880 a month for four tests. They provide the test strips and report the results to my Cardiologist. I found a similar service that does that exact same thing, and while they could not tell me what they bill insurance, they could tell me if I paid direct for the service without insurance, my cost would be $80 a month for the exact same thing.
 

Brinntache

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Canadian here, so different system. I pay for my strips directly, so I order them through the local drug store. $9CDN/strip. Cheaper than amazon. I own my machine. (I could get blood tests for free, but it means going to a lab and getting a needle draw. Nope.) Test every 2-3 weeks, goes to a thrombosis nurse practitioner. No cardiologist, no family doctor. They wouldn't add anything to the INR monitoring and dosing adjustments. 4 tests a month? how much is your INR fluctuating?
 

RAS

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Omaha, NE
Do any of you have such a service and what company provides it?
I listed some options in this post:

CardioNet, previously BioTel. They sent me a letter informing as such and that it may now cost more, but provided no details.

I also received a letter from Philips regarding the name/branding change. It said only the name will be changed. All else would be the same.


I learned that my current service BioTel/CardioNet bills my insurance $880 a month for four tests


Ignore the $880. That is the "Chargemaster" price. It is irrelevant. If your insurance covers the service, they will have a contract price at a much lower rate. Your cost will depend on that contract rate and your particular plan.
I addressed this topic here.


if I paid direct for the service without insurance, my cost would be $80 a month

Assuming a weekly test schedule, that agrees with what Acelis told me. They said $120 for a box of 6 strips which would be equivalent to $80 / month.

Contact your insurance and ask them what INR services they cover and what the cost is for each. If your insurance plan includes the HealthAdvocate service, contact them. HealthAdvocate can research this and help you make an informed decision.
 

almost_hectic

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If your insurance plan includes the HealthAdvocate service, contact them. HealthAdvocate can research this and help you make an informed decision.
Oh cool thanks.

Also I just logged into my Florida Blue account to see my past claims, It looks like BioTel was being reimbursed $140 out of the $880 they charge. It blows my mind how they can get away with that. Charge an extreme price then write off 85% of the dollar amount. You just now all those dollars don't disappear!
 

MdaPA

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Wanted to take a quick survey and see who uses a service to report their INR test results—and also supplies them with a meter and test strips.
My wife also uses BioTel's INR service (though she did not receive a letter yet that their name is changing to CardioNet). She received her meter and training from them, when it was Roche Diagnostics in 2018 I believe, and gets all her supplies (strips and lancets) from them. She tests weekly and calls them with the results. BioTel in-turn relays the results to her Cardio and her Cardio contacts her with any dosage changes.

BioTel bills her insurance company $880/month, however, the in-network contract price is only $95/month so her (10%) co-insurance is $9.50/month after her deductible is reached. On top of the $9.50/month charge from BioTel, she pays her Cardio office $1.52/week (after deductible) for their anti-coagulating service (so a total of about $15.58/month).
 
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Unicusp

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I've used Acelis since surgery earlier this year. They are very responsive and seemed to be the least expensive when I called around. I've paid nothing YTD due to my deductible having been met from surgery. But, my insurance changed last month from United Healthcare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. By the way both companies regard this as "Durable medical equipment" and covers 100% of cost after deductible is met. Acelis charges nothing for the device or service. They only charge when you order supplies. The contract rate for BCBS is $59.19 / month for 4 tests and replenish with 2 boxes of 6 strips each so total cost out of pocket for 3 months is $177.57 (until deductible is met).
They do not charge for lancets either. Nice app on phone to report results works quickly and easily. PCP (so far) does not charge for the funny weekly phone call telling me what my INR is (the one I reported).
 

Mister_James

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That's how my charges look like.
 

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MdaPA

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firstly, were you in a night club or public toilet when you snapped that?
I was thinking in a dark room perhaps?

Are those charges "per INR test"?
Looks to me like each line represents monthly charges where testing could be either weekly or bi-weekly (so 9 months of charges here where the month is cut-off from view in left hand margin). The "Payments" would be what the insurance co. paid and the "Balance" would be what the patient is responsible for.
 

pellicle

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I was thinking in a dark room perhaps?
attempting to be helpful: typically red ... because orthochromatic papers (and in the very old days green only sensitive black and white film). Red was chosen because we seem to have better sensitivity to low levels of that without disturbing our 'darkenss adjustment'


Background
Blue lights are sometimes placed in public washrooms to discourage injection drug use. Their effectiveness has been questioned and concerns raised that they are harmful but formal research on the issue is limited to a single study. We gathered perceptions of people who use injection drugs on the effects of blue lights with the aim of informing harm reduction practice.
 

Mister_James

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firstly, were you in a night club or public toilet when you snapped that? Please excuse me stripping off R and G colour channels ...

View attachment 888275

Are those charges "per INR test"? Because like "damn"
LMAO...I have mood lighting to keep my INR in range.

I think they bill everytime 2 months and it's for the supplies (strips and lancets), Meter rental and the overhead for reminding me, collecting and transmitting to my doctor.

It is still cheaper to get your own Meter. My insurance just doesn't want to go that way. Good thing is they replace the meters ever so often.
 

MdaPA

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Good thing is they replace the meters ever so often.
So the anti-coagulation service you rent your meter and get your supplies from has sent you replacement meter(s) without you requesting (i.e. you weren't have problems/errors with the device)? By chance is it BioTel Heart?
 

almost_hectic

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naples, florida
Well what prompted me to post this question is something Im still trying to figure out. My new insurance says that I will have to meet my deductible before they pay anything towards test supplies and such, and then it pays 75% for which I have to pick up the rest. This could easily add up to a couple thousand bucks a year depending on the actual amount they charge the insurance. Only nobody can tell you what that charge will be when going through insurance, UNTIL you go forward with contacting your cardiologist to send an order to a company to provide the service and then they charge my insurance. ONLY THEN would I find out how much it is. Absolutely bonkers! I might just go through the one company who said they can bill me direct for $80 a month. Thats like $20 bucks a test strip. Not super cheap, but they would provide the meter and so maybe thats worth it. I actually already have a meter from Coaguchek but how long do they last, and stay accurate?
 

RAS

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Only nobody can tell you what that charge will be when going through insurance

That makes it difficult to compare services. Did they at least confirm that Biotel/CardioNet is in your network? If so, then they should be able to lookup the contract price and tell you what the cost is. You have to be pushy with these insurance company call centers. The agents don't always have the information/access needed, but they should get you in touch with someone who does. You might have to ask for escalation to a manager.
 

DachsieMom

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Mar 2, 2015
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CT
I use this company. Same experience, except I pay $101 every 4 tests (so the entire negotiated rate), until I hit my crazy deductible of $5k. I also received a letter about prices going up and they could tell me nothing. Said I won’t know new price until January. Incidentally, they charge it as provision of medical service, not DME. under code GO 249. I pay 101 - their list price is 880, but the insurer has negotiated the rate to 101, so the 880 is meaningless.
 
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