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Rising Cost of Healthcare for Diabetes Patients

Direct medical cost estimated to be 2.3 times higher than non-diabetes patients…

The healthcare system in the U.S. is very expensive, and it becomes more difficult for patients with chronic diseases to afford good health insurance and manage their health compared to patients with non-chronic diseases. According to this study, direct medical cost of diabetes patients in the U.S. have been estimated to be 2.3 times higher compared to non-diabetes patients.

The purpose of this study was to examine the trends in healthcare expenditures by expenditure category in U.S. adults with diabetes between 2002 and 2011. From the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the authors analyzed 10 years of data representing a weighted population of 189,013,514 U.S. adults aged ≥18 years by using a novel two-part model and incremental medical expenditures.

Diabetes patients ($12,180) had more than double the unadjusted mean direct expenditures over the 10-year period compared to non-diabetes with ($5,058). Diabetes patients had a higher direct incremental expenditures compared with non-diabetes after confounders’ adjustment of $2,558 ($2,266–$2,849). It was found that in 2010/2011 ($3,443), inpatient expenditures was less expensive than in 2002/2003 ($4,014) and 2004/2005 ($4,183); unfortunately, while steadily rising for non-diabetes patients.

In diabetes patients, an unadjusted total direct expenditure estimated at $218.6 billion/year, and adjusted total incremental expenditures were approximately $46 billion/year.

“Our findings show that compared with individuals without diabetes, individuals with diabetes had significantly higher health expenditures from 2002 to 2011 and the bulk of the expenditures came from hospital inpatient and prescription expenditures,” the authors mentioned.

Practice Pearls:

  • Reduce pill burden to help patients improve compliance, and reduce hospitalization.
  • Providers should prescribe cheaper and equivalent medications.
  • Consider changing medication, dosage form, strength, route of administration to reduce cost.

Ozieh, Mukoso N., Kinfe G. Bishu, Clara E. Dismuke, and Leonard E. Egede. “Trends in Healthcare Expenditure in United States Adults With Diabetes: 2002–2011.” Diabetes Care (2015): Dc150369.