Diabetes Incurs Substantial Increases in Health Care Costs

Pharmacy Times, October 2014 Diabetes, Volume 80, Issue 10

Diabetes prevention programs may seem even more valuable in light of new research that estimates the lifetime medical cost of patients diagnosed with the condition. The results of a study published in the September 2014 issue of Diabetes Care indicated that medical spending for diabetes patients is substantially greater than that of the rest of the US population.

The analysis collected data from the 2006-2009 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys and the 2005-2008 National Health Interview Surveys to estimate the annual medical cost since age of diagnosis among diabetes patients. Sex, age, age at diagnosis, and diabetes duration were all considered in these estimates. Using survival data from previous studies, lifetime spending was then calculated. Lifetime medical spending estimates for diabetes patients were then compared with those for individuals without the condition.

After discounting future spending at a rate of 3% annually, the results indicated that patients diagnosed with diabetes at 40 years of age spend an extra $124,600 in medical costs throughout their lifetime. Excess medical costs decreased to $91,200 if patients were diagnosed at 50 years of age, to $53,800 if at 60 years of age, and to $35,900 if at 65 years of age.

“If prevention costs can be kept sufficiently low, diabetes prevention may lead to a reduction in long-term medical costs,” the study authors conclude.