The aim of this population-based study was to explore the age-specific additional direct healthcare cost for patients with diabetes compared with the non-diabetic population.Methods
In 1999–2005, patients with diabetes in the Swedish county of Östergötland (n = 20 876) were identified from an administrative database. Cost data on the healthcare expenditure in primary healthcare, out-patient hospital care and in-patient care for the entire county population (n = ≃415 000) in 2005 were extracted from a cost per patient (CPP) database, which includes information on all utilized healthcare resources in the county. Data on drug sales were obtained from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register.Results
The cost per person was 1.8 times higher in patients with diabetes than in the non-diabetic population, 7.7 times higher in children and 1.3 times higher in subjects aged > 75 years. The additional cost per person for diabetes was €1971; €3930 and €1367, respectively, for children and subjects aged > 75 years. The proportion of total additional diabetes costs attributable to in-patient care increased with age from 25 to 50%; in-patient care was the most expensive component at all ages except in children, for whom visiting a specialist was most expensive. The diabetes-related segment of the total healthcare cost was 6.6%, increasing from 2.0% in children to 10.3% in the age group 65–74 years, declining to 6.2% in the oldest age group.Conclusions
The direct medical cost of diabetes varies considerably by age. Knowledge about the influence of age on healthcare costs to society will be important in future planning of diabetes management.