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Eur J Health Econ. 2005 Jun;6(2):166-71.

The direct medical cost of diabetes in Israel.

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Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


Diabetes mellitus is an important chronic disease with a growing prevalence that absorbs an ever increasing investment of resources. This population-based study evaluated the direct medical costs of diabetes mellitus in an HMO setting. We evaluated both the total cost of diabetic patients and their added cost in comparison to other HMO members (diabetes-related costs). Data were obtained for the years 1999-2001 in a cohort of 24,632 diabetic patients followed up for 3 years drawn from the computerized medical administrative database of a large HMO in Israel, insuring around 25% of the population. The mean direct cost of the medical treatment of a diabetic patient rose 29% from US $2,017 in 1999 to $2,601 in 2001 (in 2001 terms) in comparison to a 19.7% rise (from $1,246 to $1,492). Hospitalizations, medication, and physician visits account for 39%, 29%, and 21% of the total diabetic patient costs, respectively. Dialysis, insulin intake, impaired creatinine, and elevated HbA1c were associated with increased expenditures. According to our results, the total national medical cost of diabetes alone in 2001 was $317 million and that of diabetic patients was $564 million, 6.9% and 12.4% of the total Israeli HMO budget, respectively. The study presents the use of a population-based computerized database to comprehensively assess the economic burden of disease and the potential savings from prevention. The study data suggest a rise in the cost of diabetes which has implications for prevention and treatment policies.

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