New Study: While Diabetes Cases Rise, Treatment Costs for Patients Fall

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<p>From 2000 to 2010, the proportion of U.S. adults with diabetes grew from 6 percent to 9 percent, to 21 million people. But even as the prevalence of this serious and costly condition has risen, the treatment costs borne by patients actually declined during that period, a new <a href="/publications/journal-article/2014/feb/trends-financial-burden-medical-care-nonelderly-adults">Commonwealth Fund–supported study</a> finds. </p><p>Writing in the <em>American Journal of Managed Care,</em> researchers Peter Cunningham and Emily Carrier of the Center for Studying Health System Change attribute much of the decline to lower out-of-pocket spending on prescription medications. While this lower spending largely stems from a shift toward generic versions of brand-name drugs, the authors' analysis also shows that out-of-pocket spending for all prescriptions fell. This might reflect changes in physicians' prescribing behavior or in how patients obtain prescriptions, such as through lower-cost mail order. </p>
<p>Some of the decrease in spending may also reflect the movement toward value-based benefits, or toward prescription drug tiers that encourage consumers to prioritize generics or medications deemed important for preventive care. </p>
<p>Visit <a href="/publications/journal-article/2014/feb/trends-financial-burden-medical-care-nonelderly-adults"></a> for more on the study. </p>