Diabetes Costs: How Americans Spent $245 Billion In 2012

Over the past five years, the nationwide health costs of diabetes went up by 41 percent. The annual cost increased from a reported $174 billion in 2007 to $245 billion in 2012.

The 2012 study, "Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S.," details and addresses the increased costs to the nation. Utilization of health resources and productivity losses associated with diabetes are also detailed. Commissioned by the American Diabetes Association, the study gives a breakdown of the costs by gender, ethnicity and race within each state.

Findings in the study suggest that medical expenses for people with diabetes are 2.3 times costlier than those without. Diabetes is becoming more prevalent in the U.S. and is the main reason for the jump in health costs. Although there are new medications to treat diabetes, only 12 percent of expenses went towards antidiabetic agents and diabetic supplies in 2007 and 2012.

"When it comes to the rising cost of diabetes, one of the key factors explaining the increase is that there are many more people that are now being treated for diabetes in the U.S. It is important to note that while treating diabetes is expensive, it is the fact that the prevalence of the disease is increasing dramatically," said Dr. Robert Ratner, chief scientific and medical officer at the American Diabetes Association. 

At the rate in which people are being diagnosed with diabetes, estimates project that by 2050, as many as one in three American adults will suffer from the disease. Data showed that in the U.S., government insurance paid for 62.4 percent of the cost for diabetes treatment. This includes Medicare, Medicaid and the military; 34.4 percent was paid for by private insurance and 3.2 percent by the uninsured.

"As the number of people with diabetes grows, so does the economic burden it places on this country," said Ratner.

The direct costs for diabetes include hospital and emergency care, office visits and medication, accounting for $176 billion of the nation's spending. Indirect costs of $69 billion include absenteeism, reduced or lost productivity and unemployment caused by disability or early death related to diabetes. 

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