Dexcom G6 sensors that are for MEDICARE/MEDICAID recipients

Hello…T1D here for some 30 years. I’m currently on Medicare and have been since the beginning of 2019. Prior to going on medicare, I was using G5 sensors under private insurance. Those sensors always at least 7 days and sometimes longer if needed. When I started medicare, the G5 sensors that I began using were packaged with the words “Medicare/Medicaid” on them. Didn’t think anything of it…initially. About a month into using the “Medicare/Medicaid” G5 sensors, I found that they didn’t last anywhere near as long as the previous sensors I was using under private insurance. Most sensors didn’t last 5 days and I was constantly calling to get replacements. Customer Service rep couldn’t give me an answer as to why these “new” sensors wouldn’t last. Fast forward to December 2019…now approved for the G6 sensor…great I thought. These new sensors should last 10 days. First shipment arrived…the label on the box said “Medicare/Medicaid”…this should be interesting. Since my first shipment I have had only 3 sensors last the entire 10 days. Some have lasted only 2 or 3 days. On average they are gone within the 6th or 7th day. Very frustrating! I have also found them to be inaccurate. I always insert them on my stomach area and honestly I’m running out of areas that I haven’t used in the past…especially since I’m replacing them more often than I should. To all those MEDICARE/MEDICAID recipients…are you experiencing something similar?

@DONNY1953 Hi Donald and Welcome to the TypeOneNation Forum! Yes, there are many Medicare Beneficiaries on this site who use DexCom products and I’m hoping you get a significant, and balanced response - both positive and negative.

I have been using the Dexcom sensors, G5 and now G6, only as a Medicare beneficiary and have not experienced what you describe; yes, my Medicare Label G5 were able to be restarted and worked accurately [compared with lab test results] for a couple of weeks letting me experiment with their durability and usefulness. I only had two G5 sensors that needed early replacement before the 7-day expected life and one of those sensors that failed was because I messed up by pulling off the applicator before withdrawing the needle.

As for the Medicare Label G6, I’ve had to replace two early - one at nine days and this week at 8 days. (I received a replacement.) In both instances, I blame myself for placing the sensor on my abdomen too close to the lower rim of my rib-cage and then got into some construction work requiring much bending that apparently affected the microscopic sensor wire. Of interesting note, while the 8-day sensor was in place I had lab work performed, and the lab report and my sensor had the exact same reading.

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I am on a Medicare Advantage plan, not traditional Medicare. I paid cash for G6 from 12/2018 through 1/2020. My plan started covering G6 in mid-January 2020. So far, the sensors I have received have not been in specially marked packages. In the 14 months I’ve been using them, I’ve had two or three fail early, and Dexcom sent replacements.

I’m also on Medicare and waited more or less patiently for Dexcom to cover G6. I was finally upgraded from G5 to G6 the end of December. I’m now on my third box, which are also marked “Medicare/Medicaid”.

The few times my G5 sensors failed, it was probably my fault - laid on it too far from the receiver or inserted it wrong. I have had no failures with the G6. When I use my meter to check a low alert, the actual bg # may be 10 points higher or lower. I was told that’s due to the difference in reading the actual blood in contrast to the cgm sensor reading the interstitial fluids. Also, the actual glucose meter might read differently if its too soon after eating.

I have boxes marked Medicare/Medicaid and have not had any huge issues with sensors not lasting. A few more issues with the G6 than I had with the G5 but not considerable. G5 sensors marked with that on the box lasted the amount of time they were supposed to.
I always wondered though why they are marked. Like what difference does it make??

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@Htibbits Hi Heidi and welcome to the TypeOneNation Forum!

My experience with the G5 and now the G6 sensors has been very much like yours - no real problems. What I have found with some of my G^ is loss of signal, which can’t be explained. My Sensors are almost always within 23 inches of my receiver which is my Tandem pump operating Control IQ.

The reason for the “Medicare/Medicaid” label is a holdover from when the G5 was originally approved by CMS for Medicare beneficiaries. Originally, Medicare people were not permitted to have ALL the features built into the Dexcom G5, so the special label to identify us “second-class”.

I have had both Medicare/Medicaid AND commercial sensors crap out on me between IMMEDIATE and 6-7 days.
I started on Dexcom in 2017. And I can not say how many sensors I had fail out on me. G4 and G5 Transmitters AND sensors both commercial and Medicare/Medicaid equal held up equally. The failure rate I can see is about the the same.
If you see a difference it could be just you?
On the Dexcom G6… I started on 31 October 2019. I have used Sensors and Transmitters marked Medicare/Medicaid and not marked. My first Transmitter I BOUGHT because Dexcom accidentally sent me 3 G6 sensors instead of 3 G4/G5 sensors and when I got them I called them and asked them what was I supposed to do with them and they told me to toss them and they shipped me out the correct sensors… I did not toss them, I got a Rx for the correct transmitter and took it to Costco WHEN they were $27each (before Costco and Dexcom learned our ways) and I bought a transmitter each month (yes, I was helping others out as well… for I could not use 7 transmitters in 7 months before they cut the programme). This is my list of sensor failures. From when I started the G6. The C by the date means it was a “commercially” sold sensor and a M is a “Medicare/Medicaid” sensor. The Medicare/Medicaid sensors are Mine, but I was going through so many of them, and I was frustrated with the outsourced tech support, so I don’t really call them so a friend who gets 4 boxes every 3 months gives me 1 box every 6 months, plus I have another friend who helps me out here and there if I need…plus I bought a box from Costco (yes, ouch). I am getting the ones from 2020 replaced… not bothering with the failures from November or December (did NOT report those failures… I COULD call Dexcom and report them and have them replaced if I wanted to, as it IS 8 sensors… I have 7 sensors on FedEx trucks right now…they are replacing ALL 7 from January and February AND the transmitter that failed (so 2 ⅓ months worth of Dexcom). (Hope you can read my handwriting)

My almost teenage daughter has the same issue and we have private insurance. They usually last right at 7 days, and then they fall off. We have not had any issues with them not working, just falling off. But, I call and get a replacement more than I care to think about. Every once in a while they will last the full 10 days. Sorry! I know it’s a hassle, it is for us too.

I am a Medicare patient. I had the G5 for over a year. It would last 7 days and if need be longer. I did not like the accuracy of it. Only a couple of times did it fail early and it was my fault. I am on the G6 now and am very pleased with it. It is good for the 10 days and plus if need be. The accuracy is so much better.

I am a medicare patient that has been on the G6 since my private insurance days back in 10/2018. I started getting the sensors that had the medicare stuff on the box in 08/2019 and I went on Medicare 06/2018 . I’ve had no problems with them lasting MUCH longer than 10 days and most of the time I use them for 30 days each (which is probably why I have so many extra sensors right now).

I’ve used Medicaid sensors and for the very most part they have lasted longer than a week. I know we’re not supposed to extend them, but I’ve had G4/5 sensors that lasted nearly two weeks.

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