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If you have type 1 diabetes, you know how difficult it can feel to manage your insulin levels and track your progress over time without turning it into something that resembles a full-time job. And selecting from the wide variety of products that claim to be able to help can be tricky and overwhelming.
A product that has everything you need to both manage and monitor the details of your round-the-clock diabetes care can be transformative — and that’s what Omnipod offers.
With two flagship products in the Omnipod DASH and Omnipod 5, you can stay on top of your insulin needs while tracking your data in an integrated smartphone app.
Here’s what you need to know about Omnipod, including pricing and feature comparisons, and how to weigh the Omnipod DASH against the Omnipod 5 for your specific diabetes needs.
Omnipod is a platform of diabetes management products that’s manufactured by the Massachusetts-based, publicly traded Insulet Corporation.
Omnipod was envisioned by Insulet as an ecosystem of support for people with diabetes. The Omnipod platform is based on a set of IP28 waterproof, tubeless wearable insulin delivery systems that include integrated continuous glucose management (CGM) tools, including:
- Omnipod DASH, a wearable insulin delivery pod combined with an external management device
- Omnipod 5, a fully integrated closed-loop automated insulin delivery (AID) system built on the Omnipod DASH
These products are intended to help automate the process of tracking your blood glucose and delivering insulin as needed to keep blood glucose levels balanced day and night. This takes away the need for the excess tools and manual guesswork out of traditional diabetes management processes that require needles, tubes, and fingersticks.
The Omnipod platform is also home to a community of Omnipod users who can manage their products and accounts online through PodderCentral. You can even get in touch with other Omnipod users around the world through the company’s moderated online Podder Community.
Omnipod is built on an insulin delivery and management system called pod therapy. The pod therapy automated insulin delivery (AID) system creates a closed loop between the insulin delivery device and real-time blood glucose readings, consisting of two major components:
- Wearable insulin-filled pod: This injects insulin directly into your body as needed based on blood glucose readings.
- Continuous glucose monitor (CMG): This constantly tracks your blood sugar and adjusts insulin delivery based on your levels.
Pod therapy is unlike traditional manual insulin pump methods that require external devices that deliver insulin through tubes into your body. Pod therapy involves attaching a wearable pod filled with insulin that uses a small tube that only injects insulin when needed. A single wearable pod lasts up to 72 hours before replacement.
Omnipod pod therapy is especially innovative because the pod’s insulin delivery can be programmed based on a personal diabetes manager (PDM) device or a smartphone app.
A PDM allows you to submit your glucose and carbohydrate data into a bolus calculator that helps the insulin delivery device give you exactly as much insulin as you need. You can also enter carbs into the Omnipod 5 app to calculate how much insulin you need along with readings from your CGM device.
First cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in early 2022, the Omnipod 5 — the first fully tubeless insulin management system available to the public — began hitting shelves in August 2022.
Including the unique Omnipod wearable insulin delivery device and a fully integrated smartphone app, Omnipod 5 also introduces sophisticated app controls that make a separate, external controller device unnecessary.
The Omnipod 5 is also compatible with the Dexcom G6 CGM that automates blood glucose readings without the need of another component or device.
Packs of five Omnipod DASH pods that are used in the Omnipod 5 system cost anywhere from $105 to $360 at retail pharmacies and websites that sell diabetes management devices. These pods were previously available to purchase on e-commerce sites like Amazon, but regulatory crackdowns have made pods hard to find on these sites.
Your health insurance coverage can also affect the price you pay out of pocket for the Omnipod system and pods. You will likely pay full price if you don’t have health insurance, or have a percentage of the cost covered by your specific plan.
You may also pay less than the full cost if your purchase is covered under the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) category through Medicare (it’s covered under Part D and may be available for a copay of around 20%).
The Omnipod 5 mobile app acts as a more convenient replacement for the PDM device that’s included with the Omnipod DASH pods to help you manage your insulin delivery without needing to use an extra device.
Like the PDM, the Omnipod 5 app communicates with the pod and CGM so that you can monitor the automated insulin delivery and keep an eye on how the pod is helping you reach your target blood glucose levels. And to give you more control over your insulin delivery when needed, the app also enables you to:
- manually adjust your insulin delivery as needed
- deliver insulin before a meal to help anticipate changes in blood glucose
- share your blood glucose data with a family member or doctor
- set up alerts or notifications as your blood glucose levels change and insulin delivery adjusts
As a complete AID system, the Omnipod 5 also features other notable innovations in diabetes management technology, including:
- SmartAdjust technology: This adjusts insulin delivery to keep you in line with your target blood glucose levels throughout the day and night.
- Activity features: These allow you to indicate that you need less insulin delivery during exercise when blood glucose levels are usually lower.
- SmartBolus calculator: This automatically calculates insulin delivery amount used on data and trends from your CGM.
- Waterproof construction: This keeps the system protected in the rain, while you’re swimming, or when you’re showering.
The Omnipod DASH is the original Omnipod tubeless insulin delivery system manufactured by Insulet.
The Omnipod DASH uses the same waterproof insulin-filled pod construction that can be attached to your body, with the same pods that can be used for up to 72 hours before needing to be replaced.
The biggest difference between the Omnipod DASH and the Omnipod 5 is that the DASH doesn’t include the built-in Dexcom G6 CGM for automated insulin delivery or use a smartphone-compatible mobile app.
Though the Dexcom G6 CGM isn’t built into the actual pod, it does communicate with the DASH, therefore is still needed as a separate device. The DASH works with an external, Bluetooth-compatible PDM device dedicated to diabetes management that lets you:
- perform insulin deliveries using PDM software rather than manual injections
- use an integrated bolus calculator instead of doing the calculations yourself
- receive device updates via Wi-Fi
The Omnipod DASH and Omnipod 5 systems both use the same wearable, replaceable insulin delivery pods that cost anywhere from $105 to $360 for five pods in a pack.
The Omnipod website has also offered an introductory starter kit for $799 that typically retails for about $1,140.20 as well as a 2-month supply of pods for $399.50 a month. There’s also a Pay as You Pod model that allows you to buy as many boxes of pods as you need without having to subscribe or get locked into a contract.
You can buy a starter kit that includes the Omnipod DASH system, the associated PDM device, and several pods for up to $1,000.
The Omnipod DASH is compatible with two Omnipod apps, however, they are only available for iPhones:
- Omnipod DISPLAY: With this app (iOS) you can see real-time insulin on board, receive glucose monitor and PDM data, scheduled alerts and notifications, PDM device finder.
- Omnipod VIEW: With this app (iOS), you can monitor data from up to 12 Omnipod DASH devices, see blood glucose and PDM readings, receive out-of-range readings.
The PDM that’s used as part of the DASH system performs a similar function to the Omnipod 5 app. The PDM featuring a touchscreen interface and Bluetooth connectivity lets you control your insulin injections from the PDM without having to touch any needles or tubes.
Like the Omnipod 5, the Omnipod DASH uses a waterproof, wearable insulin delivery pod that adheres to your skin almost anywhere on your body. The pod delivers insulin directly into your body using the PDM device and only has to be replaced every 72 hours.
The PDM also includes a built-in library of over 80,000 foods developed in partnership with food database company CalorieKing so that you can make informed choices at many stores and restaurants.
|Price||Best for||App compatibility||Insulin delivery||Other features|
|people ages 2 and older with type 1 diabetes||integrated smartphone app (Android)||automatic, adjustable via app||SmartAdjust, SmartBolus, Activity features|
|Omnipod DASH||$105-$1,140.20||anyone with insulin-requiring diabetes||DISPLAY and VIEW data apps (iOS)||manually controlled via PDM||PDM controller, data viewing apps|
Insulet has generally positive reviews across various e-commerce platforms. Omnipod systems are no longer sold on Amazon, but accessories like adhesives for the pod and PDM cases generally have average reviews of between 4 and 5 stars.
The Better Business Bureau profile for Insulet is also generally positive. At the time of writing, Insulet has an A+ rating (although it’s not accredited). But some reviews complain of poor customer service and noticeable changes in pod functionality after the release of the Omnipod 5 system.
With a customer complaint response rate of 100%, most complaints are concerned primarily with shipping, insurance billing, or customer service delays during times of high call volume — especially in September 2022 right after the Omnipod 5 system received full FDA approval.
Are all Omnipod products FDA approved?
The Omnipod DASH PDM was part of a
How often should I change my Omnipod product?
The Omnipod insulin delivery pods are meant to be used for up to 72 hours before replacement.
You should also consider replacing the pod if it becomes damaged and leaks insulin.
Why is Omnipod so expensive?
Omnipod is a fully integrated AID system that automates the process of insulin delivery and blood glucose monitoring, using advanced tech and software algorithms to connect all the components of the system to take away the need for manual labor usually involved in diabetes management.
This advanced automation platform comes with a much higher price tag than you might be used to with the traditional system of needles, analog devices with tubes, and fingersticks that have long been available on the cheap for diabetes management.
Does insurance cover my Omnipod product?
Check with your health insurance provider to see if your product is covered.
Omnipod is typically covered by Medicare Part D with a copay of about 20%.
Does the Omnipod delivery system hurt?
Most users of the Omnipod delivery system don’t report any pain.
And because the system removes the need for needles, this system may reduce the amount of pain you’re used to with traditional, manual diabetes management.
Where’s Omnipod manufactured?
Insulet has Omnipod manufacturing facilities in:
- the U.S. state of Massachusetts
- contract facility in China
- Johor Bahru in Malaysia
Does my Omnipod product expire?
Every Omnipod insulin delivery pod is labeled with an expiration date. The manufacturer doesn’t recommend that you use a pod that’s past its labeled expiration date.
The Diabetes Mine community at Healthline offers a trove of information and support resources for people with diabetes.
We call it a “diabetes newspaper with a personal twist.” You’ll see some of the latest news and updates from diabetes research and tech, opinions on developments in the diabetes community, and reviews of products like Omnipod and much more.
Diabetes Mine also works to bring visibility and advocacy to the continuum of experiences in the diabetes community — ensuring that no voice from the community is left unheard and that the lives of those with diabetes are able to inform the innovations that serve people with diabetes.