Medtronic 670g sensor insertion failures

Is your husband using an injector for the sensors? When I had the Medtronic 630G I had a bunch of failures with the sensors until I got the injector which they called “serter” I think, short for insertor. That might be the least expensive way to deal with the problem. All the good things said about Dexcom 6
are correct. That’s what I used with the Metronic pump. I simply input the readings into the pump. Finally, I decided to pay out of pocket for the T-slim with Control IQ. Though not perfect, it’s amazing. I rarely have to stick my finger–I mean almost never, unless something untoward happens.

@CureIt - He uses the inserter that came with the system. It’s lime green and gray. For what it’s worth, he has a huge backlog of Contour Next strips, which work wirelessly with his bluetooth BG tester and pump. So you are saying that all BG numbers have to be manually put into the 670g? Sorry for not totally understanding how different products work together. In that case, the T-slim would be a better match in the future (another 18 months before his 670g warranty expires).

I have been looking at everyone’s replies - all good info. Just know, my sensors have a 1 in 3 fail rate - and it has been getting worse for the last several months. There is no explanation. And it is frustrating beyond belief. And while Medtronic used to have good customer service, - try getting them on the phone now! Not going to happen. There has to be a better way. Like your husband, sensor change day if fraught with stress and anxiety. I needed to change my sensor 3 times on Monday - and while the final change actually worked, it then woke me in the middle of the night for “3rd” - really 4th (why does it now demand 4 calibrations on change day???) in the middle of the night. Dexcom 6 - here I come. Just wanted you to know that you are not alone, you/your husband are not crazy, and sometimes there does not seem to be a rational reason for things.

As to the overnight lows, of course changing basal rates may help - but think of this: it really takes about 2 hours for insulin to kick in (I know the experts may say differently - but this is true for me). I was getting lots of lows around 4-5 am. After much trial and error, I found that lowering my basal, BEGINNING BACK AT 10 PM and increasing it beginning about 4am helped alot and got rid of almost all those lows, without going high. Just something to think about.

Good luck!

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one more for Tandem tslim/ControlIQ/Dexcom. I paid to get a Medtronics 670G (since I was a still under warranty Animas user). Tandem and Animas both used Dexcom, which is the best system in my 13 years of CGM, 15 yrs of pumps, and 50 years of T1D.

Never was very happy with Medtronics CGM systems, I was early in its introduction. Dexcom was always more user friendly, and more accurate in G6.

I like Control IQ, had it since (?) February.

Closed Loop systems with “self-looping” old Medtronics pumps sound very interesting; but I don’t care for using out of warranty systems.

Good luck. I hope you get in to something less stressful

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That’s the same “serter” I used. My 630G fell apart, but I had already decided to buy the T-slim Control IQ our-of-pocket because I wanted it instead of another Medtronic. The cost was about $4,600. Medicare wouldn’t pay for it, but does pay for the supplies for the T-slim. Supplies consist of cartridge (which Medtronic calls a reservoir) that holds the insulin, the sensor and tubing to the pump. You will need the Dexcom transmitter which only lasts 3 months. You plug in The T-slim to charge it. No batteries.The Dexcom 6G is so good that it does not require you to enter 2 blood sugar results to get it started. After a couple of hours your blood sugar just appears on the T-slim pump. You may have to buy the Dexcom G5 first and then get it upgraded for free to the G6.

@CureIt: Sorry to be nosy (and you can decline to answer), but since my husband will be on Medicare next year, and you mentioned it does not pay for the T-slim pump, do you happen to know if it pays for other types of pumps? Or does Medicare coverage vary widely by the plan a person chooses? And approximately how much does the Dexcom transmitter cost since it has to be replaced so frequently? Do you buy one or two transmitters in advance, knowing their short shelf life? Does Medicare just cover 100% of the costs relating to pumps, but not the pumps themselves? I’m hoping to find this out before he is officially off my insurance plan. Also, it will help us decide whether or not to choose a traditional or Advantage Medicare plan. I am already getting nervous about these costs piling up! I wish the websites were more transparent about costs, but it’s impossible to know until you “buy.” I’m finding that the Dexcom G6 could conceivably save money based on lower usage of test strips. Are the sensors priced lower than Medtronic sensors? And do they indeed last 10 days without coming loose or losing functionality?

Hi @Stephanie_Y. I hope you don’t mind my strong in here since your question was posed to @CureIt - but I saw your post and thought I would offer a suggestion. When you go on Tandem’s (TSLIM) website https://www.tandemdiabetes.com/getstarted
and scroll down, there is a contact number you can call. Since plans do vary so much, including perhaps by location, they may only be able to give you a very broad idea of what to expect but it may be something to start with. When shopping for insurance on my own I have found it well worth it to do the advance work of investigating diabetes coverage, and some people do use an insurance broker to help navigate their options. Once you do have a plan in place, Tandem or your equipment supplier will do the legwork to determine your coverage and any out of pocket costs.

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Hi Stephanie @Stephanie_Y, you may be misinterpreting what was said about Medicare, pump replacements and costs. True, in postings above, writers are assuming common known information. As far as Medicare, Medicare Advantage in particular, coverage for diabetes is awesome - my thoughts since I retired when I reached 70 10 years ago. A few basics:

  • Generally, Medicare, like ALL insurance companies, will not cover replacement costs of an in-warranty pump. Medicare also adds warranty up to one year beyond Manufacturer warranty.
  • Tandem t-Slim x2 insulin pump has a $9,000 list price; under Medicare, a pump is classified as DME and the beneficiary pays 20% of the Medicare negotiated cost - out-of-pocket, I paid a couple of hundred bucks.
  • Medicare pays 100% of my pump supplies - no more than a 90 day supply at one time.
  • Medicare pays 100% of DexCom G6 supplies - no more than a 90 day supply at one time. This includes the transmitter, so only one transmitter can be included in an order.
  • I began with DexCom G5 and at that time I had to par the 20% DME co-pay for the receiver - about $80, if my memory is accurate.

I very strongly suggest that when looking at, and comparing Medicare coverage, that you speak DIRECTLY with the Company and official company agents - do not rely on hear-say interpretations. I have found, that when I ask “costs”, the insurance representatives give “an estimated cost” based on what information the buyer provides and adds a buffer. I was wonderfully pleased when my actual out-of-pocket money was less than I had expected to pay.

A further tip, you may have glossed over this, once your husband and his physician [licensed doctor prescriptions required] have decided what is best for him, contact the Manufacturer’s Representative and let these experts be your intermediary with your insurance company.

@Dennis: THANK YOU for your encouraging Medicare information. We were thinking that an Advantage plan would pay for little to none of his DME and figured we would need to go with a spendy traditional plan to get the best coverage. We have been working with a broker, but haven’t finalized anything yet since he isn’t close enough to age 65. I absolutely will be calling the company(ies) directly to see what is covered at what %. And also good point about the Manufacturer’s Rep being a good in-between person to work with our chosen insurance plan and his endo. Seems like pump prices are pretty close in costs. He has 18 months left on his 670g so there is time to figure this out. Much appreciated… (By the way, two successful sensor insertions in a row as of yesterday–maybe scar tissue is indeed the culprit? It was inserted into another “love handle” location, which is awkward for applying tape, but at least it worked!)

Dear Stephanie,
I bought my T-slim in February 2020. Perhaps Medicare may decide to cover the T-slim, so best to find out from the source. I was able to find out about the costs and insurance through a Tandem rep serving the region where my endocrinologist is, so you could ask your husband’s doctor to put you in touch with the rep–or maybe the info is on the Tandem site. I would just google “what insulin pumps does medicare pay for.”

My info on Dexcom is old, but here is a link: https://www.dexcom.com/faqs/medicare Sorry I cannot be more helpful. Just don’t want to give you wrong info.

Dexcom and Tandem companies work together when their products are used together. I tried to buy a month’s worth of Dexcom supplies, because from time to time something happens and I have to sacrifice a transmitter. I’ve torn them off accidentally or gotten the corner of the adhesive stuck to itself. They will replace the transmitter and applicator if you call them, but right now they won’t sell me a month’s supply if I pay out of pocket. Also, if there is a nurse educator near you who deals with diabetes, he/she would probably know the answer to your questions.

Good luck to you and your husband!

thanks for that info Dennis! Not there yet, but in a few years I’ll be on medicare and good to know how it works for you!

@CureIt, for years, Medicare HAS BEEN covering Tandem insulin infusion pumps.

To make things clearer for you, the only AIDs [Automated Insulin Delivery system] that Medicare pays for, for me there is $0.00 co-pay, is the AIDs that requires the Tandem t-Slim x2 pump.

If you are a Medicare beneficiary and your Tandem pump was not covered by Medicare, unless there are other factors including the fact that Medicare supported your choice of another device that is still under the MEDICARE Warranty, you should seek reimbursement.

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Yes, my Medtronic was still under warranty.