Fewer eye exams among people with diabetes in Ontario

 

In 2004, the Government of Ontario stopped insuring eye exams for healthy adults under age 65. Since then, people with diabetes have been getting fewer eye exams, although they are still covered due to their condition.

 

Between 1998 and 2004, about 69% of people aged 40 to 65 with diabetes in Ontario had an annual eye exam. Two years after the Ontario government delisted eye exams from the provincial health insurance plan for healthy adults, this rate fell to 61%. It dropped again to 57% in 2010. In comparison, between 1998 and 2010, rates of cholesterol testing and blood glucose testing, both covered under provincial health insurance, remained stable.

 

“Our findings suggest that delisting worsened the quality of diabetes care in Ontario – even though the policy change was not supposed to affect people with diabetes,” according to Dr. Tara Kiran, who noticed the drop during her study, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. This negative consequence could be explained by a misunderstanding by patients with diabetes of the new policy and by the possibility that some people may have been charged for exams that should have been free of charge.

 

 

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