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The Government of Alberta recently changed its reimbursement policy to increase access to diabetes supplies, including needles, syringes, lancets, blood glucose, blood ketone and urine testing strips. The new policy came into effect August 1, 2021. Plan members on insulin are eligible for coverage up to $2,400 each benefit year, a much-improved change from the original $600 per year. Previously, people who were managing their diabetes with medications other than insulin and/or healthy behaviours were not reimbursed for any of their supplies. Now, based on their regimen, they will qualify for $160 to $320 annually.

The new policy now aligns with Diabetes Canada’s minimum standards for coverage of blood glucose test strips. Alberta Health also set quantity limits on blood glucose test strips for the low-income programs that meet or exceed Diabetes Canada’s minimum recommendations.

“We are very pleased the government has made these critical enhancements to support Albertans living with diabetes,” says Joan King, Director of Government Relations, West, for Diabetes Canada. “For the past 10 years, diabetes advocates have been working hard to inform elected officials and policymakers of the gap in access to diabetes supplies. Diabetes Canada thanks the many dedicated volunteers for raising their voices and sharing stories of their lived experience that led to the recent expansion of financial coverage.”

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. But insulin is not a cure, and we are not at the finish line. “We can’t wait another 100 years to end diabetes and while researchers work towards the next break-through, we must continue improving timely and equitable access to diabetes supplies, medications and devices,” says King.

Diabetes Canada is committed to working with the government for continued improvements, including public funding of flash and continuous glucose monitoring devices for those with diabetes who could experience improved outcomes from their use. These devices can help certain people meet short- and long-term health-related goals and improve treatment satisfaction. Having access to options is important for people with diabetes and their health-care providers, and management decisions should always be individualized and informed by the best available evidence.

Diabetes Canada hopes the federal government’s recent announcement in support of a nation-wide diabetes framework will help the government of Alberta develop a comprehensive provincial strategy using the principles of Diabetes 3600.

Category Tags: Advocacy & Policy;

Region: National

About Diabetes Canada

Diabetes Canada is the registered national charitable organization that is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Diabetes Canada partners with Canadians to End Diabetes through:

  • Resources for health-care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
  • Advocacy to governments, schools and workplaces; and
  • Funding world-leading Canadian research to improve treatments and find a cure.

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Sherry Calder, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications