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Diabetes in Kids Comes With Hefty Price Tag

FRIDAY April 29, 2011 -- Medical costs for children and teens with diabetes are six times higher than for other young people in the United States, a new study finds.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined health insurance claims made in 2007 for nearly 50,000 youth aged 19 and younger, including 8,226 with diabetes.

Annual medical expenses for youth with diabetes were $9,061, compared with $1,468 for those without diabetes. Prescription drugs and outpatient care accounted for much of the extra medical costs.

The highest medical costs were for youth with diabetes who required insulin, which included all those with type 1 diabetes and some with type 2 diabetes. The annual medical expenses for those who received insulin were $9,333, compared to $5,683 for youth with diabetes who did not require insulin.

Medical costs for all Americans with diabetes, most of whom are adults, are 2.3 times higher than for those without diabetes, according to the CDC's 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet.

The diabetes-related difference in medical costs may be greater among young people than adults due to higher medication costs, visits to specialists and medical supplies such as insulin syringes and glucose testing strips, according to the researchers.

They noted that 92 percent of youth with diabetes required insulin, compared to 26 percent of adults with diabetes.

The study appears in the May issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

More information

The American Diabetes Association has more about children and diabetes.

Posted: April 2011


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