High out-of-pocket costs prevent many people from treating diabetes

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Managing diabetes is very important to avoid serious health problems in the future. However, the cost of taking care of diabetes is going up, making it harder for people to afford the treatment they need.

Diabetes is now the most costly long-term illness in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that in 2022, the total money spent on diabetes care was more than $400 billion.

This means that out of every four dollars spent on health care in the U.S., one dollar goes to diabetes.

A study done by Michigan Medicine and published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice showed that people with diabetes, especially those with type 1 diabetes, spend a lot more money on their care than people who don’t have diabetes.

This study looked at the health insurance claims of many people over the years to compare the costs for those with type 1 diabetes, those with type 2 diabetes, and those without diabetes.

The researchers tracked how much money was spent on medicine, supplies for diabetes care, doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency department visits from 2009 to 2018.

They found that in 2018, people with type 1 diabetes had the highest costs, with total expenses being $25,652 and out-of-pocket costs at $2,037.

People with type 2 diabetes also had high costs, but those without diabetes spent a lot less, with an average of $14,220 in total costs and $1,122 out-of-pocket.

Over the ten years studied, the costs went up for everyone, but only those with type 1 diabetes saw their out-of-pocket costs increase significantly.

Evan Reynolds, Ph.D., the lead statistician for the study, mentioned that if this trend continues, people with type 1 diabetes will find it even harder to afford their care.

The main reason for the rising costs is the price of medications, especially insulin, which is necessary for treating diabetes.

The study also pointed out that when people have to pay a lot for their medications, they are less likely to take them as they should, which can be dangerous for their health.

Apart from the medications, the cost of supplies needed to manage diabetes, like syringes, pumps, and test strips, is also going up.

Brian Callaghan, M.D., one of the senior authors of the study, emphasized the importance of being able to afford preventive health care.

Preventing diabetes complications is not only good for health but can also save money in the long term. However, the high out-of-pocket costs can be overwhelming for patients, leading to what the researchers call “financial toxicity.”

This is when the cost of medical care starts to negatively affect a patient’s life, hurting both their physical and mental health.

The study suggests that to help people with diabetes, especially those with type 1, it’s crucial to find ways to lower the costs of medications like insulin.

The researchers call for policies that can help reduce or stabilize these costs, making it easier for people to manage their diabetes and stay healthy. Lowering the cost of insulin is seen as an immediate need to help make diabetes care more affordable.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about high vitamin D level linked to lower dementia risk in diabetes, and this eating habit could help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about unhealthy plant-based diets linked to metabolic syndrome, and results showing Paleo diet plus exercise could boost heart health in people with diabetes

The research findings can be found in National Center for Biotechnology Information.

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