Health costs rise for diabetes patients


Healthcare spending for people with diabetes rose nearly 6% in 2014, according to a new study. Find out what contributed to the rise.

Healthcare spending for people with diabetes covered by employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) grew much faster than for people without diabetes, according to a study by the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI).

The 2014 Diabetes Health Care Cost and Utilization Report aimed to determine how much money is spent on healthcare for adults and children with diabetes, where that money is spent, and how that compares to people without diabetes. The data is based on the health care claims of more than 40 million Americans under the age of 65 years who were covered by ESI from 2012 to 2014.

According to the report, per capita spending on people with diabetes reached $16,021 per capita in 2014, an $897 increase from the previous year, and over $10,000 higher than per capita spending for people without diabetes. That is nearly a 6% increase compared to 3.2% for people without diabetes. Contributing to the rise in spending is the fact that people with diabetes had twice as many doctor and emergency room (ER) visits and filled more than five times more prescription drugs compared to those without diabetes. 

Additionally, people with diabetes used services related to mental health and cardiovascular disease at higher rates than people without diabetes. According to the report, people with diabetes had seven times more filled days of cardiovascular drugs, and cardiovascular drugs-not insulin-were the most commonly used drugs among adults with diabetes. Researchers also found that adults ages 19 to 25 years with diabetes had four times more hospital admissions for mental health and substance use than did the same age group without diabetes.


Out-of-pocket spending was also higher for people with diabetes compared to those without. In 2014, patients covered by ESI spent an average of $1,944 out-of-pocket per capita compared to $752 for people without diabetes. Among patients with diabetes, children had the highest out-of-pocket spending in 2014, equating to an average of $2,173 per child. Unlike the adult population with diabetes, the most commonly used prescription class among children with diabetes was brand antidiabetic agents.

“Understanding how and where we spend healthcare dollars for people with diabetes is the first step in assessing how well the healthcare system is working and where improvements can be made,” said HCCI Senior Researcher, Amanda Frost, in a press release.


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