A study published on the website Diabetes Care by researchers Dr. Xiaohui Zhuo and colleagues found the cost of diabetes care per person has increased precipitously in the last 20 years.
The researchers looked at how medical spending and healthcare use changed in diabetic patients between 1987 and 2011. In 1987, the excess medical spending for someone with diabetes was $2,588, while it was $4,205 in 2000/2001 and $5,378 in 2011.
The increase between 1987 and 2011 amounted to $2,790, and the researchers found this was largely due to increased prescription medication use and cost. The increase also came from inpatient visits, outpatient visits, and ER visits. In the case of outpatient visits, the increase in spending came almost entirely from more visits, rather than a rise in the price of outpatient services. The same was not true of inpatient and ER visits.
"Despite the modest decline in the use of inpatient, ER, and other medical services, the excess medical spending on those services that is attributable to diabetes continued to grow due to a substantial increase in the price of those services," the researchers reported in their article, according to the website Diabetes in Control.
The researchers also noted further studies should take place to determine whether increased spending on prescription drugs is cost effective in diabetes treatment.
What does increased diabetes spending mean for you?
Medical costs are generally covered both by your insurance and by your own payments. So you may not actually spend thousands of dollars each year on managing your diabetes, provided you do have health insurance. Diabetes care is a significant expense, however, even with insurance, and this most recent research shows the financial burden is only increasing over time.
If you're wondering what you can do to mitigate these costs, here are a few tips:
• Stay on top of your diabetes care. Follow your doctor's instructions regarding medication, diet, lifestyle, and glucose monitoring to reduce the chances of needing ER or inpatient health care. This alone may help you save a significant amount of money managing your diabetes.
• Talk to your doctor about your medications. Your doctor knows which diabetes medications are right for you, but you may want to ask about the amount and cost of your drugs. It is possible that a generic version would serve you just as well, for example. It is worth asking your doctor, but be sure not to make medication changes without consulting a medical professional.
Has your personal spending on diabetes gone up? How do you handle the financial burden?