Objective: This study updates previous estimates of the economic burden of diagnosed diabetes and quantifies the increased health resource use and lost productivity associated with diabetes in 2012.
Research design and methods: The study uses a prevalence-based approach that combines the demographics of the U.S. population in 2012 with diabetes prevalence, epidemiological data, health care cost, and economic data into a Cost of Diabetes Model. Health resource use and associated medical costs are analyzed by age, sex, race/ethnicity, insurance coverage, medical condition, and health service category. Data sources include national surveys, Medicare standard analytical files, and one of the largest claims databases for the commercially insured population in the U.S.
Results: The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 is $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity. The largest components of medical expenditures are hospital inpatient care (43% of the total medical cost), prescription medications to treat the complications of diabetes (18%), antidiabetic agents and diabetes supplies (12%), physician office visits (9%), and nursing/residential facility stays (8%). People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes. For the cost categories analyzed, care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for more than 1 in 5 health care dollars in the U.S., and more than half of that expenditure is directly attributable to diabetes. Indirect costs include increased absenteeism ($5 billion) and reduced productivity while at work ($20.8 billion) for the employed population, reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($2.7 billion), inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($21.6 billion), and lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($18.5 billion).
Conclusions: The estimated total economic cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 is $245 billion, a 41% increase from our previous estimate of $174 billion (in 2007 dollars). This estimate highlights the substantial burden that diabetes imposes on society. Additional components of societal burden omitted from our study include intangibles from pain and suffering, resources from care provided by nonpaid caregivers, and the burden associated with undiagnosed diabetes.