The provincial government is expanding insulin pump coverage, so any British Columbian requiring one to manage diabetes will have access under PharmaCare.
With this change in coverage, taking effect on July 3, 2018, British Columbia becomes one of only three provinces to cover insulin pumps for people living with diabetes requiring one, regardless of age. Approximately 485,000 British Columbians live with diabetes. It is expected that roughly 830 adults over 25 years of age will benefit from the expansion in the first year.
While not required for all individuals diagnosed with diabetes, insulin pumps offer many people a reliable and stable way of monitoring and scheduling insulin doses, which can have a positive impact on one’s quality of life. Insulin pumps can range in cost from approximately $6,000 to $7,000, and require replacing roughly every five years.
The anticipated cost of expanding insulin pump coverage to all eligible British Columbians, no matter their age, will be approximately $15 million over three years. Patients must meet with their diabetes physician specialist to determine whether they meet the eligibility criteria for an insulin pump. The patient’s physician would then apply to PharmaCare’s special authority department for insulin pump coverage.
- This announcement expands the insulin pump program which, when introduced in 2008, provided coverage to children up to the age of 18. The age restriction was then expanded in 2014 to include those living with Type 1 diabetes, or other forms of diabetes requiring insulin that meet specific criteria, up to the age of 25.
- The expansion of insulin pump coverage is the latest change to PharmaCare that will assist individuals living with diabetes. The government’s $105-million investment to eliminate or reduce Fair Pharmacare deductibles for low-income families — the first in 15 years — will also reduce out-of-pocket costs incurred for other supplies and medications used as part of managing this chronic disease.
- PharmaCare covers effective therapies for the treatment and management of diabetes, including a number of oral medications and a range of insulin products. In addition, PharmaCare covers insulin vials, cartridges, insulin pens and other diabetic supplies, including needles, syringes and blood-glucose test strips.
- The ministry also offers a diabetes management incentive payment, which encourages doctors to offer diabetes patients continuous care that meets the provincial guidelines. In 2017–18, more than 3,400 family doctors received B.C.’s diabetes management incentive payment for over 208,300 patients.
- Learn more about B.C. Pharmacare
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