Objective: Diabetes is the third-most expensive physical health condition among US employees. We sought to evaluate the contribution of hypoglycemia to these costs.
Methods: We studied 2664 employees using insulin for whom medical encounters and short-term disability (STD) records were available.
Results: Among these employees, 442 (16.6%) had a diagnosis of hypoglycemia during an average follow-up of 2.5 years. The risk of hospitalization and emergency room visits was increased twofold in this group. Much of this excess was associated with hypoglycemia. The annualized medical cost of hypoglycemia was $3241. Patients with hypoglycemia had 77% more STD days annually. The risk of STD in the week after hypoglycemia was increased fivefold.
Conclusion: These data suggest that hypoglycemia contributes substantially to medical care utilization and to disability-related work absence among employees using insulin.