Diabetes costs have risen 41% in five years, study finds

ADA releases study of direct, indirect costs of disease

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The cost of diabetes has increased by more than $70 billion over the past five years, according to new research from the American Diabetes Association.

The ADA announced the release of a report estimating that the total costs of diagnosed diabetes had risen 41%, from 2007's $174 billion to $245 billion in 2012. The report, Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012, was commissioned by the ADA and addresses increased financial burden, health resources used and lost productivity associated with the disease.

"As the number of people with diabetes grows, so does the economic burden it places on this country," ADA chief scientific and medical officer Robert Ratner said. "The cost of diabetes is rising at a rate higher than overall medical costs with more than one-in-10 healthcare dollars in the country being spent directly on diabetes and its complications, and more than one-in-five healthcare dollars in the U.S. going to the care of people with diagnosed diabetes."

According to the organization, nearly 26 million Americans are living with diabetes — mostly Type 2, which results largely from lifestyle factors — while an additional 79 million are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, a condition known as prediabetes. The total costs include direct medical costs of $176 billion and indirect medical costs of $69 billion, including absenteeism, reduced productivity, unemployment resulting from disability and lost productivity due to early mortality.

Medical expenditures for people with diabetes are 2.3 times higher than for those without the disease, and the primary driver of increased costs is the increasing prevalence of the disease in the United States, according to the report. Despite the introduction of new classes of medication for treating diabetes, diabetes drugs and supplies accounted for 12% of medical expenditures in 2007 and 2012.

The study found disparities between various demographic groups as well. Per capita health expenditures are $8,331 for men versus $7,458 for women. Hispanics had the lowest per capita healthcare expenditures, at $5,930, compared with $9,540 among blacks and $8,101 among whites. Meanwhile, government insurance programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare covered 62.4% of the cost for diabetes care, compared with 34.4% paid by private insurance and 3.2% paid by the uninsured. Among states, California had the largest population of people with diabetes and thus the highest costs, at $27.6 billion; Florida had the fourth highest population of people with the disease, behind California, Texas and New York, but the second highest costs, at $18.9 billion.

"When it comes to the rising cost of diabetes, one of the key factors explaining the increase is that there are many more people that are now being treated for diabetes in the U.S.," Ratner said. "It is important to note that while treating diabetes is expensive, it is the fact that the prevalence of the disease is increasing dramatically. Recent estimates project that as many as one-in-three American adults will have diabetes in 2050. These numbers are alarming and further highlight the need for our nation to address this epidemic."

 

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