Diabetes Costs No More Than Other Chronic Diseases

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By: Jan Chait

Diabetes is no more expensive for consumers or for their employer-sponsored health insurance plans than any other chronic disease.

Researchers examined health insurance billing data, including both employer and consumer costs, for about 1.3 million people who worked for 862 large self-insured employers. Nearly 21,000 of the individuals involved (1.7 percent of the total) were identified as having diabetes.

Although costs for people with diabetes were three times higher than the average costs of all enrollees in the plans, the expenses were about the same as those for individuals with other chronic diseases such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer and asthma.

Diabetes-related expenses account for about 6.5 percent of total health plan expenditures, the researchers estimate.

Diabetes Care, December 2002

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