VICTORIA, B.C- British Columbians with diabetes are in luck today.

The provincial government has announced the expansion of insulin pump coverage, which means that all residents will be able to access the equipment under Pharmacare.

“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,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“Going forward, they won’t be put in this position…. The provincial government is removing the age restriction for insulin pump coverage.”

The change takes effect on July 3, 2018. It’s estimated that approximately 485,000 British Columbians live with diabetes and about 830 adults over the age of 25 will benefit from the expansion in the first year.

The pump program was first introduced in 2008, with coverage of children up to the age of 18.

The age restriction was then expanded in 2014 to include those living with Type 1 diabetes, or other forms of diabetes requiring insulin that meet specific criteria, up to the age of 25.

The anticipated cost of expanding insulin pump coverage to all eligible British Columbians, no matter their age, will be approximately $15 million over three years, according to the province.

Patients must meet with their diabetes physician specialist to determine whether they meet the eligibility criteria for an insulin pump.

The patient’s physician would then apply to PharmaCare’s special authority department for insulin pump coverage.