Diabetes Canada concerned with absence of insulin pump coverage in recent Saskatchewan budget.
On March 22, the provincial budget was tabled in the legislature by Finance Minister Kevin Doherty. Unfortunately, the budget did not include lifting the age restriction of the current insulin pump program to include all medically eligible residents living with type 1 diabetes, regardless of age.
“This news is disappointing because not investing in diabetes will only put our province deeper in the red in the years to come with emergency rooms and hospitals caring for people with the costly complications of diabetes,” says Brie Hnetka, regional director for Saskatchewan with Diabetes Canada. Diabetes Canada has been advocating to the government to make this important investment that is not only proven to improve a person’s quality of life, but at the same time presents cost savings to the province’s health-care system.
There are an estimated 320,000 people currently living with diabetes or prediabetes in Saskatchewan. If nothing is done, Saskatchewan can anticipate this number to rise to 384,000 by 2027 with a parallel increase to direct cost to the health-care system from $100 million to $133 million by 2027. Eighty per cent of the costs of diabetes are related to caring for its complications, including kidney failure, stroke, heart attack, blindness and limb amputation.
For medically eligible individuals, switching from multiple daily insulin injections to an insulin pump can improve diabetes management and reduce these serious complications. Currently, the province excludes people with type 1 diabetes over the age of 25 from the insulin pump program, even dropping individuals from the program at age 26, regardless of their ongoing need for a pump.
“Individuals over 25 remain without public support for an insulin pump. It’s simply not fair. The voice of individuals living with diabetes in Saskatchewan is not being heard,” says Hnetka. Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease, and those who face it, regardless of their age, deserve better than having to pay out-of-pocket for their life saving medical device.”
Diabetes Canada also asks the provincial government to articulate a pathway for diabetes care, identifying the supports needed for optimal diabetes management as well as a provincial standard of care for children living with type 1 diabetes in schools. Saskatchewan is one of five provinces with no guidelines or standards for consistent care of kids with diabetes while they attend school, placing them at risk of serious short and long term complications.