Background: Electronic medical records and insurance claims data from the Geisinger Health System were examined to assess the real-world healthcare costs of being overweight or obese at different glycemic stages, including normal glycemia, pre-diabetes (PreD), and type 2 diabetes (T2D).
Methods: The medical history of the sample subjects was segmented into different glycemic stages via diagnosis codes, glycosylated hemoglobin A1c or fasting plasma glucose laboratory results, and use of antidiabetic drugs. Healthcare resource utilization captured by the claims and associated costs (in 2013 values) were examined for each glycemic stage. The association between costs and body mass index (BMI) was estimated by regressions, and adjusted for sociodemographics. We predicted the adjusted incremental annual costs associated with high BMI, relative to normal BMI (18.5-24.9 kg/m(2)).
Results: We identified 48,344 adults in normal glycemic stage, 3,085 in the PreD stage, and 9,526 in the T2D stage (mean age 46, 58, and 60 years, respectively; mean BMI 29, 32, and 33 kg/m(2), respectively). The adjusted incremental annual costs associated with high BMI relative to normal BMI ranged from $336 for overweight (25-29.9 kg/m(2)) to $1,850 for class III obesity (≥40 kg/m(2)) during normal glycemic stage; were only significant for class III ($2,434) during the PreD stage; and ranged from $1,139 for overweight to $4,649 for class III during the T2D stage (all p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Positive associations between healthcare costs and BMI levels were observed within each glycemic stage. Management of body weight is important in reducing the overall healthcare costs, especially for subjects with PreD or T2D.