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J Intern Med. 2005 Jul;258(1):45-54.

The cost of medical care for patients with diabetes, hypertension and both conditions: does alcohol use play a role?

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  • 1Health Economics Research Group, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA.



To estimate and compare the medical costs of individuals with diabetes and/or hypertension relative to a matched sample of individuals with neither condition, and determine if these costs are significantly influenced by alcohol use.


Data were obtained from a sample of 799 patients from eight primary care clinics in south-central Wisconsin between 2001 and 2002. Medical care costs were calculated within four categories [hospital and emergency room (ER) costs, clinic costs, medication costs and total cost] for three chronic disease samples [diabetes only (n = 89), hypertension only (n = 299), and both diabetes and hypertension (n = 209)] as well as a matched sample with neither diabetes nor hypertension (n = 202). Annual medical care costs were estimated using a combination of insurance billing records, self-reported information and chart review. All cost data pertain to a 12-month period in 2001-2002. In addition to a descriptive analysis of costs across medical service categories and samples, we also conducted multivariate analyses of total cost, controlling for patient demographics, education, employment, smoking, and comorbidities, such as heart disease, hyperlipidaemia, liver disease, chronic back pain, asthma, depression, anxiety and bronchitis.


The estimated differential in total annual medical cost (relative to the control group) was USD 2183 for diabetes only, USD 724 for hypertension only and USD 3402 for diabetes and hypertension. Alcohol use did not significantly impact medical care costs amongst individuals with diabetes and/or hypertension.


These cost estimates can serve as an important and useful reference source for doctors, insurance companies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and policy makers as they try to anticipate the future medical care needs and associated costs for diabetic and hypertensive patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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