The Cost of Diabetes

Apr 10, 2014
By Co-Communications (Danielle Cyr)

On Thursday, April 17 the Connecticut Health Council will host ‘Innovation Takes on the Diabetes Pandemic’ featuring John L. Brooks III, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Joslin Diabetes Center.  In anticipation of the event, which is graciously sponsored by Novo Nordisk, we offer a look at the costs of diabetes. To register for the April 17 event, click here.


Did you know that healthcare expenditures are 2.3 times higher for people with diabetes than they would be for the same population in the absence of diabetes? And that 22% of all US inpatient hospital visits are incurred by patients with diabetes? Diabetes is also the 7th leading cause of death and a catalyst for blindness, kidney failure and lower-limb amputations, as well as a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Simply put, the costs of diabetes in the U.S. are high – high for employers, for hospitals, for nursing facilities, for in home healthcare providers and for patients.

Diabetes diagnoses on the rise
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) reported 79 million adults over age 20 have pre-diabetes. The CDC’s 2011 Diabetes Fact Sheet notes that one quarter (25%) of the U.S. workers who suffer from the disease aren’t aware they even have the condition. The Fact Sheet goes on to point out that the estimated diabetes expenses in the U.S. in 2007 were $174 billion annually for direct medical and indirect costs.

Diabetes and the workplace
Diabetes is among the top 10 most costly physical health conditions for employers. Among these costs are direct medical expenditures, absenteeism, presenteeism and short-term disability, according to the CDC.  The CDC reports Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90%-95% of all diagnosed cases, noting, that since Type 2 diabetes develops slowly, it is important to offer employees screening programs for early detection and treatment.

Diabetes and nursing facilities
The American Diabetes Association’s report Economic costs of diabetes in 2007, reveals some interesting statistics about diabetes care in nursing facilities. One quarter (25%) of U.S. nursing facility residents have diabetes. Further, 44% of those with diabetes who are admitted to nursing facilities have a projected length of stay in excess of 90 days. This translated into $7.5 billion dollars spent by nursing facilities on managing diabetes in 2007.

Diabetes and in home health
Nearly one quarter (23%) of U.S. home health visits are related to diabetes. In 2007, this translated into $5.6 billion in home healthcare costs due to diabetes, according to the Economic costs of diabetes in 2007 report.

Diabetes and hospital care

As noted above, 22% of all U.S. inpatient hospital days are incurred by patients with diabetes. In 2007, the total U.S. inpatient hospital costs attributed to the disease were $58.3 billion.

The costs of diabetes in the U.S. are staggering for patients, providers, insurers and employers alike. To learn more about the costs of diabetes in the U.S. and Joslin Diabetes Center’s efforts to fight this pandemic, join us in April 17 at the New Haven Lawn Club.