British Columbians who use insulin pumps to manage diabetes but fall outside the age restrictions for coverage under PharmaCare will no longer have to worry, as the provincial government announced Tuesday that it will expand coverage for the device.
The government will remove the age restriction for insulin pump coverage, formerly limited to those under 25 years of age, starting July 3, 2018.
“Up to now, many people over 25 years old, who rely on an insulin pump to manage their chronic disease, have been forced to make the difficult choice between purchasing this device for their health, or foregoing it due to cost,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Going forward, they won’t be put in this position.”
British Columbia is now one of only three provinces to cover insulin pumps for people living with diabetes who require one, regardless of age.
There are approximately 485,000 British Columbians who live with diabetes, and it’s expected that roughly 830 adults over 25 years of age will benefit from the expansion in the first year.
Insulin pumps can cost anything from $6,000 to $7,000, and need to be replaced approximately every five years. While not all individuals diagnosed with diabetes require one, for many, they offer a reliable and stable way of monitoring and scheduling insulin doses.
The anticipated cost of the expansion will be approximately $15 million over three years, according to the Ministry of Health.
“On behalf of B.C. volunteer advocates, Diabetes Canada commends the provincial government for making this decision. Type 1 diabetes doesn’t stop at age 25, and we are so pleased that insulin pump coverage won’t also,” said Sheila Kern, regional director, B.C. and Yukon, Diabetes Canada.