Study: Many diabetics forgo care because of high costs

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Study: Many diabetics forgo care because of high costs

By Antoinette Alexander - 06/19/2018
Nearly half of people living with diabetes have, at times, gone without care because they can’t afford it, according to a report recently released by UpWell Health, a provider of healthcare services, support, and solutions for people living with chronic conditions.

In its True Cost of Diabetes report, UpWell surveyed more than 5,000 people living with diabetes and determined that 45 percent have gone without diabetes care at times because they couldn’t afford it. What’s more, the “costs” of this chronic health condition are more than just financial, impacting relationships, recreation, employment, mental health, and more.

“The report shines a light on the impact diabetes can have on one’s lifestyle and amplifies the real disconnect that often exists between physicians, pharmacists, insurance providers, and patients, which can lead to patient frustration and further disease progression,” said Alison Wistner, CEO of UpWell Health. “There is a tremendous opportunity to simplify chronic care management by giving patients the ability and resources to obtain their medications and adhere to their prescription plan. We feel that doing so will help people live simpler, healthier, and more empowered lives.”

Trends uncovered in the report include:

Self-care tasks add up: Many of the chores associated with good diabetes management have to be done over and over again. Forty-one percent of respondents check blood sugar one to two times daily, while 29 percent check it three to five times every day. Forty-five percent take diabetes medicine twice a day; 24 percent take it three to four times daily. Ten percent take four or more diabetes medicines. Twenty-eight percent go to their pharmacy for diabetes needs two to four times a month.

Living with diabetes isn’t cheap: The American Diabetes Association recently found average diabetes-related medical expenses to be approximately $7,900 per person, per year. Some of those costs are not fully covered by health insurance and some people don’t have insurance. Thirty-four percent of respondents spent $100 to $500 of their own money for diabetes doctor care in the past year. Forty-three percent paid up to $1,000 out of pocket in the past year for treating diabetes complications, while 16 percent paid a staggering $1,000-$5,000.

Diabetes affects more than the person who has it: Caregivers may feel stressed. Partners may worry about whether their companion is taking proper care of him or herself. Children might not understand when a parent doesn’t feel well and has to cancel a family activity. Coworkers may suspect a colleague with diabetes isn’t pulling his or her share of the workload. The list goes on. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said diabetes has harmed relationships with loved ones, friends, or coworkers. More than half (55 percent) missed work in the past year because of diabetes, while 38 percent had to give up hobbies, activities, or other interests.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1-out-of-10 Americans has diabetes — and that number is growing steadily.

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