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The Cost of Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association (Association) released new research on March 6, 2013 estimating the total costs of diagnosed diabetes have risen to $245 billion in 2012 from $174 billion in 2007, when the cost was last examined.

This figure represents a 41 percent increase over a five year period.

The study, Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012, was commissioned by the Association and addresses the increased financial burden, health resources used and lost productivity associated with diabetes in 2012. The study includes a detailed breakdown of costs along gender, racial and ethnic lines, and also includes a breakdown of costs on a state-by-state basis. 


The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 is $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity.

The largest components of medical expenditures are:

  • hospital inpatient care (43% of the total medical cost),
  • prescription medications to treat complications of diabetes (18%),
  • anti-diabetic agents and diabetes supplies (12%),
  • physician office visits (9%), and
  • nursing/residential facility stays (8%).

People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.

For the cost categories analyzed, care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for more than 1 in 5 health care dollars in the U.S., and more than half of that expenditure is directly attributable to diabetes.

Indirect costs include:

  • increased absenteeism ($5 billion) and
  • reduced productivity while at work ($20.8 billion) for the employed population,
  • reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($2.7 billion),
  • inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($21.6 billion), and
  • lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($18.5 billion). 

Diabetes Costs in Specific Populations

  • Most of the cost for diabetes care in the U.S., 62.4%, is provided by government insurance (including Medicare, Medicaid, and the military). The rest is paid for by private insurance (34.4%) or by the uninsured (3.2%).
  • People with diabetes who do not have health insurance have 79% fewer physician office visits and are prescribed 68% fewer medications than people with insurance coverage—but they also have 55% more emergency department visits than people who have insurance.
  • Total per-capita health care expenditures are lower among Hispanics ($5,930) and higher among non-Hispanic blacks ($9,540) than among non-Hispanic whites ($8,101). Non-Hispanic blacks also have 75% more emergency department visits than the population with diabetes as a whole.
  • Total per-capita health expenditures are higher among women than men ($8,331 vs. $7,458). Total per-capita health care expenditures are lower among Hispanics ($5,930) and higher among non-Hispanic blacks ($9,540) than among non-Hispanic whites ($8,101).
  • Compared to non-Hispanic whites, per capita hospital inpatient costs are 41.3% higher among non-Hispanic blacks and 25.8% lower among Hispanics.
  • Among states, California has the largest population with diabetes and thus the highest costs, at $27.6 billion.  Although Florida’s total population is 4th among states behind California, Texas, and New York, Florida is 2nd in costs at $18.9 billion.


The estimated total economic cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 is $245 billion, a 41% increase from our previous estimate of $174 billion (in 2007 dollars).

This estimate highlights the substantial burden that diabetes imposes on society. Additional components of societal burden omitted from our study include intangibles from pain and suffering, resources from care provided by non-paid caregivers, and the burden associated with undiagnosed diabetes.