Aims: The aim of this population-based study was to explore the age-specific additional direct healthcare cost for patients with diabetes compared with the non-diabetic population.
Methods: In 1999-2005, patients with diabetes in the Swedish county of Ostergötland (n = 20,876) were identified from an administrative database. Cost data on the healthcare expenditure in primary healthcare, out-patient hospital care and in-patient care for the entire county population (n = approximately 415,000) in 2005 were extracted from a cost per patient (CPP) database, which includes information on all utilized healthcare resources in the county. Data on drug sales were obtained from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register.
Results: The cost per person was 1.8 times higher in patients with diabetes than in the non-diabetic population, 7.7 times higher in children and 1.3 times higher in subjects aged > 75 years. The additional cost per person for diabetes was euro 1971; euro 3930 and euro 1367, respectively, for children and subjects aged > 75 years. The proportion of total additional diabetes costs attributable to in-patient care increased with age from 25 to 50%; in-patient care was the most expensive component at all ages except in children, for whom visiting a specialist was most expensive. The diabetes-related segment of the total healthcare cost was 6.6%, increasing from 2.0% in children to 10.3% in the age group 65-74 years, declining to 6.2% in the oldest age group.
Conclusions: The direct medical cost of diabetes varies considerably by age. Knowledge about the influence of age on healthcare costs to society will be important in future planning of diabetes management.