Diabetic supply coverage

Albertans using insulin to treat diabetes are now eligible for diabetic supply coverage, up to $600 per year. To be eligible, you must be an insulin-treated diabetic who is registered with one of Alberta’s supplementary health benefit plans:

  • Alberta Health supplementary health benefit plan administered by Alberta Blue Cross
    • Coverage for Seniors
    • Non-Group Coverage
    • Palliative Care Drug Coverage
  • Alberta Human Services assistance programs
  • Alberta Monitoring for Health program

Questions and answers

Why is the government only covering $600 per year for diabetic supplies?

This amount is intended to reduce the cost burden of diabetes on individuals. The $600 figure considered information from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), the diabetes population and supply need. CADTH suggested that in adults with type 2 diabetes using basal insulin, self-monitoring of blood glucose should be individualized but testing of up to 14 times per week should suffice in most cases.

Is there a co-payment amount similar to when I purchase my drugs?

No. A co-payment will not be applied to diabetic supplies purchased (co-payment means the portion of the cost paid by you to the pharmacy). You do not pay for diabetic supplies until you have reached the $600 per year limit.

What diabetic supplies are covered by the Alberta Health supplementary health benefit plans?

Diabetic supplies covered include:

  • Blood glucose test strips 
  • Urine test strips 
  • Lancets 
  • Syringes and 
  • Needles

Is the insulin pump covered?

No. However, Alberta Health is reviewing whether to provide coverage for insulin pumps for Albertans.

What assistance is provided to Albertans who manage their diabetes with oral medication or by diet?

The Alberta Monitoring for Health program will continue to provide funding for low-income Albertans without diabetic supply coverage from another health benefit program of up to $250 for those on oral diabetes medications, and up to $100 for those managing their diabetes by diet and exercise.

What will the Alberta Monitoring for Health Program cover?

The Alberta Monitoring for Health program will continue to provide coverage for low-income Albertans who have no insurance for their diabetic supplies.

The Alberta Monitoring for Health coverage will apply to those with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, including eligible persons managing their disease with insulin, oral diabetes drugs or diet and exercise.

Will I be covered if I have gestational diabetes treated by insulin?

Expectant mothers who are low income and using insulin to treat gestational diabetes, and not covered under a health insurance plan, will be eligible to receive coverage of up to $600 per pregnancy for diabetic supplies through the Alberta Monitoring for Health Program.

Is there a difference in diabetic supply prices at different pharmacies?

Yes. Prices may vary and there may be sales at different pharmacies, so you can choose to shop around for the best price. However, it is in your best interest to stay with the same pharmacy for patient monitoring and care purposes.

Is there a limit or restriction when purchasing diabetic supplies at the pharmacy, for example, a 3-month supply only?

No, there is no limit or restriction to the amount of diabetic supplies purchased at one time. The only time a restriction may be implemented is if there is an expiration date on the product.

What happens when I reach my $600 limit for the benefit year?

If you are a low-income senior you can contact the Special Needs for Seniors’ program. If you are a non-senior, you can contact Human Services.

Otherwise, Albertans who do not qualify for programs based on income eligibility may be able to claim some of the costs of diabetic supplies as a medical expense on their annual federal income tax return.

More information