The provincial government is expanding coverage for insulin pumps and eliminating age restrictions.

The Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced $15 million over three years will be invested in this plan, saying one of the biggest barriers for people with type one diabetes is poverty.

“Up to now, many people over 25 years old, who rely on an insulin pump to manage their chronic disease, have been forced to make the difficult choice between purchasing this device for their health, or foregoing it due to cost,” added Dix. “Going forward, they won’t be put in this position. Following through on a pledge made by Premier John Horgan, the provincial government is removing the age restriction for insulin pump coverage.

Insulin pumps aren’t required for people who are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes but is an easier way for them to monitor scheduled insulin doses. Pump costs range from $6,000 to $7,000.

Sheila Kern, Diabetes Canada Regional Director for B.C. and Yukon, says this expansion can help reduce the effects caused when someone foregoes the costs of an insulin pump.

“30 per cent of all strokes. 40 per cent of all heart attacks. 50 per cent of kidney failure requiring dialysis. 70 per cent of non-traumatic limb amputation. And the leading cause of blindness. This is is why diabetes is important to be well managed.”

In a release, the government says there are 485,000 people in B.C. living with diabetes, and they expect 830 adults to take advantage of the coverage.

The changes take effect July 3rd.