The True Cost of Diabetes survey of more than 6,600 patients with diabetes, from UpWell Health, determined that 45% have gone without diabetes care at times because they couldn’t afford it. Respondents also indicated that the “costs” of this chronic condition reach far beyond their pocketbooks—affecting relationships, sleep, leisure time, and mental health.
Nearly one in 10 Americans has diabetes—and that number is growing steadily, according to the CDC.
“It was interesting to see the enormous impact diabetes has on respondents’ relationships, employment, hobbies, and even mental health. This survey also highlights how the impact of diabetes extends beyond just the people living with this chronic condition,” says Alison Wistner, CEO of UpWell Health. “As such, it’s more important than ever to help patients understand the options available to them under their health plans to simplify chronic care management.”
Additional key findings of the survey include:
- 46% missed outings, activities, or other personal events in the past year due to diabetes
- 43% paid up to $1,000 out of pocket in the past year for treating diabetes complications
- 37% say diabetes has harmed relationships with loved ones, friends, or coworkers
Many of the chores associated with good diabetes management have to be done over and over again, according to Wistner. “For example, 29% of respondents are checking their blood sugar three to five times a day.”
More than half (55%) of respondents missed work in the past year because of diabetes, while 38% had to give up hobbies, activities, or other interests.
“We also found it particularly compelling that 28% of respondents go to the pharmacy for diabetes needs two to four times a month,” Wistner says. “On top of that, 12% of respondents live 10 or more miles from their pharmacy. This can be a huge burden and eat up vast amounts of time. Individuals should take the time to understand and consider the options available to them under their health insurance plans, such as prescription delivery.”
She encourages health plans to help members find financial help. “Low-cost community medical care and patient assistance programs are just two ways to help stretch a budget.”
Also, urge members to get support from family, friends, diabetes support groups, and online diabetes communities, she says.