Diabetes and employers
Diabetes has been identified as the 3rd most costly physical health condition for employers.
Direct medical, disability and absenteeism costs determined for a pool of 375,000 employees from 6 large corporations revealed:
- Annual diabetes-related costs totaled $104 per employee, even though only 4.8% actually had diabetes
- Each employee with diabetes cost an average of $21,000 a year
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The costs of diabetes can be managed
- A Pennsylvania HMO achieved savings of $1,294 in claims paid annually for diabetes patients who were enrolled in a disease management program (Sidorov J et. al. 2002)
- A Washington state HMO achieved annual direct cost savings of between $685 - $950 per diabetes patient beginning in year 2 in a population that initially had poor glucose control (Wagner EH et. al. 2001)
- HealthPartners HMO (Minneapolis) did a 4-year study that concluded "lower baseline levels of HbA1c were associated with significantly lower subsequent charges for care, and... higher levels of HbA1c were associated with significantly higher subsequent charges for care" (Gilmer T et.al. 1997)
- A randomized, controlled, double-blind study of 1,000 diabetics
yielded statistically significant positive differences in the actively
managed group after only 12 weeks (Testa MA et.al. 1998) for:
- Quality of life
- Productive capacity
- Bed-restricted days
Diabetes care management can moderate employer's costs
A recent study conducted by the HealthPartners HMO found that members with higher Hemoglobin A1c blood levels had higher medical costs over a 3-year period. Expenses were significantly higher for each percentage point increase above a Hemoglobin A1c of 7% (Gilmer et al., 1997).
Levels of Hemoglobin A1c* (%) Being Compared
Greater Per-Person Treatment Cost Associated with a 1 Percentage Point Higher Hemoglobin A1C Value
|10% with 9%||$1,200 - $4,100|
|9% with 8%||$900 - $3,100|
|8% with 7%||$600 - 2,200|
|7% with 6%||$400 - $1,500|
Based upon those assumptions, an aggregate decrease in HbA1c would mean direct medical cost avoidance over a 3-year period of between $1,500 and $5,300 per employee.
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