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Med Care. 2006 Mar;44(3):210-5.

Health care expenditure burdens among adults with diabetes in 2001.

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  • 1Division of Modeling and Simulation, Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.



High out-of-pocket costs can pose a significant burden on patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and contribute to decreased treatment adherence. We examined financial burdens among adults with diabetes using nationally representative data.


estimated how frequently adults with diabetes live in families in which spending on health insurance premiums and health care services exceed a specified percentage of family-level after-tax disposable income.


We found that adults with diabetes face greater risks of high burdens compared with adults with any other highly prevalent medical condition. Adults with diabetes have lower incomes and pay a higher share of total expenditures out-of-pocket compared with adults with heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. Among adults with diabetes, women, those who live in poverty, and those with coexisting conditions are more likely to bear high burdens. Among nonelderly adults, those with public coverage and the uninsured have greater risk of high burdens compared with those with private insurance. More than 23% of the uninsured and more than 20% of those with public coverage spend more than half of their disposable income on health care. Among the elderly, those with private nonemployment related insurance have the greatest risk of high burdens followed by those with Medicare only, those with private employment-related coverage, and those enrolled in Medicaid. Prescription medications and diabetic supplies account for 63% to 70% of out-of-pocket expenditures among the nonelderly and 62% to 69% among the elderly.


Our study identifies the subpopulations among adults with diabetes who are more likely to have high burdens, so that intervention measures can be targeted to help reduce treatment noncompliance. Our analysis also emphasizes the role of medications and diabetic supplies in contributing to high out-of-pocket burdens.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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