Cost of having diabetes doubles

A new analysis published in Diabetes Care found that the cost of managing diabetes has more than doubled in the past two decades. The average person with diabetes now spends $2,790 more each year than patients did back in 1987. More than half of that increase is due to the rising cost of prescription drugs.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at data from the National Medical Expenditure Survey for the years 1987, 2000, 2001, 2010 and 2011. In 1987, 22,538 people participated in the survey and reported spending $2,588 more on their healthcare than people without diabetes. In 2000 and 2010--with the number of people participating in the survey rising to 39,000--the spending on diabetes care increased to $4,205 and $5,378 respectively.

Where are people spending all the money? Once factors such as age, race, type of care and obesity were factored in, 55 percent of costs were on prescriptions, 24 percent on inpatient visits, 15 percent on outpatient visits, and 6 percent for ER visits and other expenses.

The cause for the rise in prices is a combination of more people using health care services as well as an increase in the prices for those services. Patients take more medications and pay more for their medications.

The researchers noted these rising costs are not sustainable, making it that much more critical that the current diabetes "epidemic" needs to be brought under control.

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