The association between diabetes related medical costs and glycemic control: A retrospective analysis

Alan K. Oglesby, Kristina Secnik, John Barron, Ibrahim Al-Zakwani, Maureen J. Lage

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Background: The objective of this research is to quantify the association between direct medical costs attributable to type 2 diabetes and level of glycemic control. Methods: A longitudinal analysis using a large health plan administrative database was performed. The index date was defined as the first date of diabetes diagnosis and individuals had to have at least two HbAlc values post index date in order to be included in the analyses. A total of 10,780 individuals were included in the analyses. Individuals were stratified into groups of good (N = 6,069), fair (N = 3,586), and poor (N = 1,125) glycemic control based upon mean HbAlc values across the study period. Differences between HbAlc groups were analyzed using a generalized linear model (GLM), with differences between groups tested by utilizing z-statistics. The analyses allowed a wide range of factors to affect costs. Results: 42.1% of those treated only with oral agents, 66.1% of those treated with oral agents and insulin, and 57.2% of those treated with insulin alone were found to have suboptimal control (defined as fair or poor) throughout the study period (average duration of follow-up was 2.95 years). Results show that direct medical costs attributable to type 2 diabetes were 16% lower for individuals with good glycemic control than for those with fair control ($1,505 vs. $1,801, p <0.05), and 20% lower for those with good glycemic control than for those with poor control ($1,505 vs. $1,871, p <0.05). Prescription drug costs were also significantly lower for individuals with good glycemic control compared to those with fair ($377 vs. $465, p <0.05) or poor control ($377 vs. $423, p <0.05). Conclusion: Almost half (44%) of all patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are at sub-optimal glycemic control. Evidence from this analysis indicates that the direct medical costs of treating type 2 diabetes are significantly higher for individuals who have fair or poor glycemic control than for those who have good glycemic control. Patients under fair control account for a greater proportion of the cost burden associated with antidiabetic prescription drugs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation
Publication statusPublished - Jan 16 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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