For Canadians living with diabetes, there were two big changes to provincial coverage for diabetes technologies in the fall of 2019. The Ontario government agreed to cover the Libre system. In British Columbia, the government declined to cover the t:SlimX2 insulin pump or supplies for its residents. This is one step forward and one step back when it comes to choice in the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes.
Ontario Drug Program covers the Libre Flash Glucose Monitor
Effective September 16, 2019, the Ontario government has stated that they will cover the complete cost of the Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring Systems for those who are eligible for the Ontario Drug Benefit program. This is fabulous news for those living with insulin-dependent diabetes. Those opting to use this system will be eligible to have 33 sensors covered per year.
While people in Ontario are celebrating the expansion of their provincial health program, others are waiting for their provinces to follow suit.
Get the provincial overview of diabetes devices and supplies coverage here.
The BC Government declines coverage of the t:slimX2™ insulin pump
People living with diabetes in BC, however, were disheartened last week to see that once again their choice in insulin pump therapy had been restricted by their government. The Minister of Health stated that the government would not be adding the t:slimX2™ to their provincial insulin pump coverage.
They have however added coverage for the Ypsopump from Ypsomed.
Your Diabetes May Vary
As we have stated time and time again, diabetes is not a one size fits all disease. What works well for one person with diabetes may not work for another. What works at one stage in your life may not work for you at a different stage. It is vital that people living with diabetes have a choice in how they manage their diabetes care.
In Canada, currently, we have the choice of four insulin pumps, one flash monitoring system, and two continuous glucose monitors. In theory, this is fabulous but using these devices are costly. If you do not have great private insurance (and not all private insurance is great for people living with diabetes), you most likely will not have access to your choice of technologies.
If your job does not offer private insurance coverage or the company you work for has not negotiated for extensive coverage of diabetes supplies, you are most likely looking to the provincial government to provide aid. Depending on where you live in Canada, provincial coverage for diabetes technologies can vary greatly.
There should be an increase in public coverage for diabetes supplies and devices
Once again, we feel that a reduction in provincial coverage for diabetes technologies is wrong. All Canadians living with insulin dependent diabetes should have access to the best possible diabetes care. The size of their wallet size or their geographic location shouldn’t matter.
Providing Canadians with diabetes with the best possible care benefits everyone. It helps the person with diabetes to stay healthy. This means that they are in the hospital less often. If they are in the hospital or at the doctor less often, then they are not costing the health care system as much money. These individuals are also taxpayers. If they are not ill, they are able to work which provides the public coffers with more money as well. It is a win-win situation that we continue to hope that more provinces will start to realize.
If you are currently looking to use an insulin pump or other technology but are concerned about how you will pay for it, the pump companies and CGM manufacturers have staff dedicated to helping you look at your options. Be sure to contact them before you give up on being able to use the technology of your choice.
Download the insulin pump eBook
If you are considering purchasing an insulin pump, make sure you know what questions to ask and understand which features are most important to you!