Diabetes Costs Hit $245B in 2012

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , March 13, 2013

There is no indication that the rate of increase in the number of diabetes cases is slowing. "We've seen some studies indicate there may be some sort of plateauing in the rate of increase in overweight and obesity in this country, and there is a fairly strong correlation between that and diabetes," Petersen says. "But arguably diabetes follows the other, and it's not quite clear how much we are plateauing on overweight and obesity. I think we are talking many years out before the increase in Type 2 diabetes flattens out or even slows down."

The study, which details costs along gender, racial and ethnic lines, and on a state-by-state basis, also found that:

  • More than half (62.4%) of the cost of diabetes care is provided by Medicare, Medicaid, and other government payers, 34.4% in paid for by commercial plans, and 3.2% is paid for by the uninsured.
  • Total per-capita health expenditures are higher among women than men ($8,331 vs. $7,458). Total per-capita healthcare expenditures are lower among Hispanics ($5,930) and higher among non-Hispanic blacks ($9,540) than among non-Hispanic whites ($8,101).
  • California has the largest population with diabetes and the highest costs, at $27.6 billion. Florida's total population is fourth among states behind California, Texas and New York, but it is second in costs at $18.9 billion.

Petersen says the money spent on diabetes could be significantly higher because the Association study does not include estimates on the costs of medical care for people with pre-diabetes and undiagnosed diabetes.

"Bottom line, certainly there are significant additional costs beyond our cost study for our cost study for those two things," he says. Petersen says the study does not distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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