Age should not restrict access to diabetes supplies and devices

age should not restrict access to insulin pumps. Diabetes Advocacy

Since the day that I realized that there were more options available to my son than the multiple daily injection insulin regimen we were currently on, I was adamant that all people with diabetes should have a choice in their treatment options regardless of the size of their wallets. I further believed that age should not restrict access to diabetes supplies.

People living with diabetes should be able to decide if they want to use Lantus over NPH. They should be able to choose Apirdra over regular insulin.  They should be able to see if a Continuous Glucose Monitor or an insulin pump is for them without having to sell their home.

No one chooses to have type 1 diabetes. They should be able to choose how they manage it regardless of income.

In Canada, citizens are still not always able to access the best treatment options.  They may not have private health insurance or their insurance may not cover the devices that they desire to use.  The result is that they go without or go to extreme measures to get the medical tools that they need to keep them healthy. For me, that is not acceptable.

boy with type 1 diabetes in boots

My son began using an insulin pump when he was five-years-old.  I had wanted a pump for him since the first time I heard of the flexibility that it allowed but financially it was not an option.  His father had medical insurance but insulin pumps were not covered.

It wasn’t until my family stepped in and said that they would come together to pay for the pump that we were able to get one for him.  They wanted the very best for my son and were going to make sure that it happened.

That was back in 2002. Things have changed since then. All provinces in Canada have begun to cover insulin pumps–for children.  For those over 18, assistance is not always available, however.

Compare provincial coverage options by clicking the link below.

In some provinces, adults with type 1 diabetes still have to find good insurance, high paying jobs, or go back to injections out of necessity. Other people may seriously consider moving to a province that offers better coverage just to be able to afford to optimally manage their diabetes care.

Today my son is 16.  He is heading into his final year of high school and looking at career options. The most important part of his career choice is to find one that is either very high paying or offers great benefits. What he enjoys seems to be second on our list. That is discouraging and gets my dander up.

If a person wishes to use an insulin pump to best control their diabetes care, then they should have that option.  Financial status, occupation, or age should not restrict access to diabetes supplies. 

It is sad that think that pensioners are having to go back to injections because their private health care coverage ends at retirement.  Young adults who are beginning careers and new families are having to rethink how they will move forward because of cost constraints brought on by managing their diabetes care.

This is not right.  Age should not restrict access to diabetes supplies like insulin pumps.  These devices provide just as many benefits to adults as it does to children.  Adults with type 1 diabetes who are using insulin pumps often find shift work much more manageable.  They tend to see less diabetes-related downtime because they can micro-manage their disease with greater ease. 

access to diabetes supplies. Diabetes Advocacy

The addition of Continuous Glucose Monitoring systems to their care can help them to anticipate dangerous highs or lows that could have otherwise sent them home for the day.  Increased productivity and work time for people with diabetes has a larger impact on society as well. People living with diabetes who are able to work are able to contribute to the provincial tax coffers through their employable earnings.  They are less likely to have complications or dangerous blood glucose swings that could send them to the hospital.  Our young people with diabetes are able to look at jobs in the province rather than having to move to areas with better pay and better benefits.

The rewards definitely outweigh the costs no matter where you live. It is important that governments and individuals come to realize that neither wallet-size nor age should not restrict access to diabetes supplies.

Download our chart comparing diabetes supplies coverage in Canada.

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5 thoughts on “Age should not restrict access to diabetes supplies and devices”

  1. Good Morning,

    Just thought I would let you know that the Government of the Northwest Territories has a Specified Disease Conditions Program that covers all diabetic supplies, not covered by a patients insurance, or lack thereof, regardless of age. On top of being an amazing place to live and raise children, including a T1D son.


  2. Well said!! Tugged at my heart strings. This is something I’m passionate about and it makes me so mad!! I personally have been affected by the financial burden of pumping but have been lucky enough to have the support of family.

    We will win this fight!!

      1. My husband’s A1C was well over 9% until we got the pump. You need a pump because you can’t keep the insulin, exercise and food in balance. I don’t understand why you have to hit below 9% before you get a pump. That makes no sense at all. Hubby’s A1C hit 8.4% a couple of times after the infection in his head developed and before our CGMS. We were at 7.8 % for ~ 1 year prior to the surgery and were using a CGMS for about 5 years at that point. The infection has now been cleaned out and our last A1C 3 mo. after the operation to clean out the infection and a short tme after stopping the 750 mg of cipro tablets twice a day was 7.2%. Not quite the < 7% we are looking for but getting closer. Alberta interestingly allows a nurse practitioner to prescribe not a specialist.

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