June 07, 2017

The Manitoba government has introduced changes to its coverage of test strips used for self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) for people with diabetes. The test strip quantity limitations proposed are in line with Diabetes Canada’s recommendations for minimum public reimbursement.

However, for the program to promote optimal monitoring of blood glucose (sugar), Diabetes Canada stresses the need for an education component for patients and health-care providers. Diabetes Canada is disappointed the government did not meaningfully consult with Manitobans living with diabetes before deciding not to reinvest the savings into diabetes education.

This new policy can be found here and the changes are effective June 15, 2017. They include: 

  • Those with diabetes (type 1 or type 2) who use insulin will have public coverage for up to 3,650 test strips within a 365-day period.
  • Those who use oral diabetes medications with a higher risk of low blood sugar will have public coverage for up to 400 test strips within a 365-day period.
  • Those who use oral diabetes medications with a low risk of low blood sugar, or only use diet and physical activity to manage their diabetes, will have public coverage for up to 200 test strips within a 365-day period.

Under this new policy, a nurse practitioner or physician can prescribe additional test strips beyond the maximum limits based on clinical need. If people with diabetes find themselves in this circumstance, they are encouraged to speak with their physician or nurse practitioner.

Diabetes Canada’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada recommend that testing be individualized to each person’s circumstance. Some may need to test more frequently and some may need less frequent testing. Diabetes Canada’s priority is that people with diabetes have access to the testing supplies they need, based on the advice of their health-care provider.  People with diabetes can refer to our interactive SMBG tool to determine how often they need to test and to help their discussions with their health-care team.

For any questions about the policy:

  • For the public, call 204-786-7141 in Winnipeg, 1-800-297-8099 outside of Winnipeg or TTY at 204-774-861.