Excess Medical Costs Tied to Diabetes in Youth Substantial

True especially for insulin-treated disease; much of excess costs are for prescription drugs

MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- The excess medical expenditures related to diabetes among youth are substantial, and this is particularly true for insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM), according to a study published in the May issue of Diabetes Care.

Sundar S. Shrestha, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used the 2007 MarketScan commercial claims and encounter database to analyze data for 49,356 youth (aged ≤19 years) who were continuously enrolled in fee-for-service health plans. Youth with diabetes (cases) were identified from inpatient, outpatient, and pharmaceutical drug claims, with each case matched with five controls (without diabetes).

The investigators found that the predicted mean annual total per-person medical expenditures were $9,061 for youth with diabetes and $1,468 for those without the condition. Of the excess medical expenditures associated with diabetes, 43 percent was attributable to prescription drugs. The predicted mean annual total expenditures were $9,333 for ITDM youth and $5,683 for NITDM (non-insulin-treated diabetes mellitus) youth. Of the excess costs for ITDM, 59 percent was attributable to prescription drugs.

"Our study showed that the excess medical expenditures associated with diabetes in youth were substantial. Our estimates associated with diabetes (both ITDM and NITDM) can be used to estimate the economic burden of diabetes in youth in the United States," the authors write. "The estimates of expenditure for NITDM can also serve as a lower bound to evaluate the benefits of type 2 diabetes prevention programs."

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