Diabetes Cost

 Diabetes Cost

  • Managing diabetes uses up to about 10% of national healthcare budgets in many countries. By the end of this decade, diabetes will likely affect 15% of American adults – that’s around 39 million people. The human costs and economic consequences will be substantial. Compared with whites, the diabetes rates are double among all non-white populations.
  • About half of the health expenditure is spent on the complications of diabetes of which cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most significant drain on resources.1 The CVD complications of diabetes could overwhelm developing countries that are still struggling to manage communicable diseases.2 The high costs associated with the care of diabetic patients could be largely attributed to inpatient care and overall medication costs. Hypoglycemic drugs amounted to only one-quarter of the medication costs.3
  • Urban Chinese with diabetes are so far well-protected from the financial impact of diabetes that often causes destitution in countries without health insurance systems. 89% of people with diabetes in the 5 Chinese cities studied had health insurance. Only 11% of their total household income was spent on medical care. However, they spend 9 times more than people of the same age and sex without diabetes. Persons who have had diabetes for more than 10 years spent 22% of their current household income for healthcare.
  • Diabetes and cost of treatment will rise dramatically by end of the decade. By 2020, more than half of Americans will have diabetes or be prediabetic and cost the US health care system $3.35 trillion, according to a report released by UnitedHealth Group Inc. The expected annual cost for diabetes care will increase from $194 billion this year to almost US$500 billion by 2020, which is expected to be 10% of the total health care spending.
  • Treating patients with diabetes increases cost on average up to 4 times more than the average insured person because of costly micro- and macro-vascular events. In 2009, average annual health care costs for diabetics were almost 3 times higher than nondiabetics ($11,700 vs $4,400). If interventions offered in the report were put in place nationally, it could save up to US$250 billion over the next 10 years.
  • Among people with diabetes, the average yearly cost is nearly three times higher for those with complications than those without ($20,700 vs $7,800). The complications are driven by poor control of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels and underscore the need for aggressive management of these factors.
  • There is now a sufficiently large evidence base about interventions that can reduce the escalating burden of diabetes. This includes lifestyle changes particularly physical activity to reduce obesity and medications to control blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
  • The diabetes population and the related costs are expected to at least double in the next 25 years. Between 2009 and 2034, the total number of people (with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes) will increase from 24 million to 44 million. During the same period, annual diabetes-related spending is expected to increase from $113 billion to $336 billion (in 2007 dollars).4
  • For the Medicare-eligible population, the diabetes population is expected to rise from 8 million in 2009 to 15 million in 2034; associated spending is estimated to rise from $45 billion to $171 billion.4 


1. International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes and CVD Disease: A Time to Act. 2001. Brussels  2001.

2. International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes Atlas, Fourth  Edition  Brussels  2009.

3. Stock S., Drabik A, Buscher G, et al. German diabetes management programs improve quality of care and curb costs. Health Aff (Millwood). Dec 2010;29(12):2197-2205.

4. Huang E S, Basu A, O’Grady M, Capretta JC. Projecting the future diabetes population size and related costs for the U.S. Diabetes Care. Dec 2009;32(12):2225-2229.

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