How Do Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM)-Related Complications and Socioeconomic Factors Impact Direct Medical Costs? A Cross-Sectional Study in Rural Southeast China

Objective To evaluate type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)-related direct medical costs by complication type and complication number, and to assess the impacts of complications as well as socioeconomic factors on direct medical costs.
Design A cross-sectional study using data from the region’s diabetes management system, social security system and death registry system, 2015.
Setting Tongxiang, China.
Participants Individuals diagnosed with T2DM in the local diabetes management system, and who had 2015 insurance claims in the social security system. Patients younger than 35 years and patients whose insurance type changed in the year 2015 were excluded.
Main outcome measures The mean of direct medical costs by complication type and number, and the percentage increase of direct medical costs relative to a reference group, considering complications and socioeconomic factors.
Results A total of 19 015 eligible individuals were identified. The total cost of patients with one complication was US$1399 at mean, compared with US$248 for patients without complications. The mean total cost for patients with 2 and 3+ complications was US$1705 and US$2994, respectively. After adjustment for socioeconomic confounders, patients with one complication had, respectively, 83.55% and 38.46% greater total costs for inpatient and outpatient services than did patients without complications. The presence of multiple complications was associated with a significant 44.55% adjusted increase in total outpatient costs, when compared with one complication. Acute complications, diabetic foot, stroke, ischaemic heart disease and diabetic nephropathy were the highest cost complications. Gender, age, education level, insurance type, T2DM duration and mortality were significantly associated with increased expenditures of T2DM.
Conclusions Complications significantly aggravated expenditures on T2DM. Specific kinds of complications and the presence of multiple complications are correlated with much higher expenditures. Proper management and the prevention of related complications are urgently needed to reduce the growing economic burden of diabetes.