Dexcom's G4 Platinum CGMS (Continued)
An Extended Transmission Range
Kelly and Adam's Favorites
- 20+ feet range between transmitter and receiver (feels like more!)
- More reliable data capture and fewer data gaps
The G4 Platinum has a new transmitter design that has two major benefits. First, the wireless communication range between the transmitter and receiver is significantly longer — over 20 feet with the G4 Platinum vs. five feet for the Seven Plus. Moreover, while the Seven Plus transmitter often failed to deliver data to the receiver even when it was within five feet, data gaps are incredibly rare with the G4 Platinum. In fact, we found it can transmit through multiple floors of a house and as much as 50 feet away when it's in line of sight. This should be particularly valuable for parents that like to monitor their children's glucose in another room of the house or on the sidelines of an athletic event — our friend Christine Varon, mother to seven-year-old Lilly, can't wait for her daughter to use it during swim practices and meets.
A minor drawback of the new G4 Platinum transmitter is that it is a tenth of an inch thicker and sits a bit higher off the body than the Seven Plus transmitter. It was noticeably bigger at first glance, though this was less perceptible once it was on the body. Without a doubt, we believe that much improved transmission range and reliability are worth the price of the marginally larger transmitter.
Cost, Insurance, and More Information
We've done a lot of research on the pricing! Insurance coverage of CGM has improved dramatically over time — largely through the help of the JDRF, patients with type 1 have experienced good success getting their CGM covered. Now, some specifics!
1. What's the price? Ultimately, most patients should receive a discounted price of about $800 for the G4 Platinum starter kit, which includes the receiver, transmitter, and charger. Although the actual cash price is $1,198, most insurers have agreements with Dexcom to pay a discounted price for the patients they cover — the benefits of buying in bulk!
A sensor four-pack will have an official cash price of $349, which will drop to a discounted price of about $260 depending on the insurer. The discounted costs for the sensor system ($800) and a sensor four-pack ($260) are roughly the same as the costs to start on the Seven Plus — we salute Dexcom for not asking patients to pay more for the G4 Platinum starter kit or for the new sensors.
2. Can I upgrade for a lower price? If your Seven Plus is still in warranty, meaning it was replaced or newly acquired in the last year, you can upgrade to the G4 Platinum for $399.
3. What if I don't qualify for an upgrade? At diaTribe, we have Aetna insurance; while neither Adam nor Kelly qualified for the $399 "upgrade" price (they both got Seven Plus systems over a year ago), they were lucky that diaTribe/Close Concerns paid the bill! Specifically, the out-of-pocket cost for a brand new G4 system and three months of sensors was a total of $840. We're very lucky to have good insurance and an employer who covers the costs for CGM.
4. What should I expect if I'm new to CGM? If you are just starting on CGM now, your doctor or CDE may have to do a lot of legwork through paperwork to get this for you but over 95% of the people on Dexcom systems do have insurers who cover the costs. So keep trying if you don't succeed at first. The best way to determine what it will cost for you to start on the G4 Platinum is to contact Dexcom. The G4 Platinum started shipping earlier this week and more information (including videos and insurance forms) is available on www.dexcom.com.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...