Issue: June 2011
June 01, 2011
1 min read

Annual medical costs for youth with diabetes exceed $9,000

Shrestha SS. Diabetes Care. 2011;34:1097-1101.

Issue: June 2011
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The annual cost of care for young people with diabetes is six times higher than for young people without diabetes, according to a CDC study.

Annual medical expenses for youth with diabetes totaled $9,061 compared with $1,468 for those without the disease. Much of the extra medical costs (43%) for children come from prescription drugs and outpatient care; visits to specialists and medical supplies such as syringes and glucose testing strips may also add to the financial burden. According to the researchers, this finding in children and adolescents is in contrast to the entire diabetic population, primarily adults, in which hospitalization or inpatient expenditures contribute most to medical expenses.

Young people with the highest medical costs were typically treated with insulin. Children and adolescents who received insulin therapy had annual medical costs of $9,333 compared with $5,683 for those who did not receive insulin but rather used oral medications to control blood glucose. Among youth with diabetes, 92% were taking insulin compared with 26% of adults, as was reported in a previous CDC study.

“Most youth with diabetes need insulin to survive, and the medical costs for young people on insulin were almost 65% higher than for those who did not require insulin to treat their diabetes,” Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation and researcher for this study, said in a press release.

Medical costs for people with diabetes are 2.3 times higher than costs for those without diabetes, according to statistics from the CDC.

“Our estimated level of per capita total medical expenditure attributable to diabetes of $7,593 is greater than a corresponding per capita estimate of $6,649 for the entire US diabetic population in 2007,” the researchers wrote.

The study examined medical costs for children and teens aged 19 years or younger who were covered by employer-sponsored private health insurance plans in 2007. Estimates were based on administrative claim data from nearly 50,000 youth, including 8,226 with diabetes.

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