Manitoba's Health Minister made an announcement this morning which she says should greatly improve the quality of life for young Manitobans with Type 1 Diabetes.

Our provincial government is establishing two new programs to pay for advanced glucose monitors and insulin pumps for individuals aged 25 years and younger.

"Diabetes can be a difficult disease to manage at any age, but this is particularly the case for children and youth, their families and health-care providers," says Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon. "This combined six million dollar investment will greatly improve the quality of life for young Manitobans with Type 1 diabetes and ease the financial impact on families."

The government estimates that more than 1,000 Manitobans may seek coverage for advanced glucose monitors, and up to 200 more Manitobans will be able to use insulin pumps with no up-front costs under this program.

"Advanced glucose monitors enable individuals, their caregivers and health-care providers to identify glucose trends and adjust medications, activity and food intake," says Gordon. "This kind of flexibility allows people with diabetes to live happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives, and I'm pleased we're able to support this expansion in services."

Advanced glucose monitors have the potential to improve blood sugar management and quality of life for people living with Type 1 diabetes. Clients 25 years old and younger who meet eligibility criteria including a referral from a specialist will have the option of either continuous or flash glucose monitors.

Similar to blood glucose test strips that monitor glucose levels, eligible Manitobans will be required to pay out-of-pocket for advanced glucose monitors until their pharmacare deductible has been met for the year.

Gordon notes that those receiving Employment and Income Assistance will receive advanced glucose monitors at no cost.

Currently, insulin pumps are provided at no cost to eligible children and youth under the age of 18, through the Manitoba Pediatric Insulin Pump (MPIP) Program. Eligibility criteria for insulin pumps for those aged 18 to 25 will be similar to what is used for the MPIP Program, and will include those who have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and have an endocrinologist’s recommendation for the use of an insulin pump.

The minister notes there will be up to an estimated 200 more Manitobans who will be able to use insulin pumps with no up-front costs.

"Insulin pumps play a vital role in managing and regulating diabetes," says Gordon. "Expanding services to those age 25 and under will allow us to support more young people as they manage their diabetes and ensure cost is not a barrier to accessing services."

Clients will not be required to meet their pharmacare deductible before they can receive an insulin pump. The minister notes that insulin pump supplies, such as needles and catheters, which clients use to connect the pump to their veins, will remain covered by the Manitoba Pharmacare Program, along with other consumable diabetes supplies such as blood glucose test strips and the advanced glucose monitors.

These new diabetes supports for advanced glucose monitors will come into effect on September 28 and for insulin pumps in November 2021.