Changing costs of type 1 diabetes care among US children and adolescents

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6 Scopus citations


Background: Modern therapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D) increasingly utilizes technology such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). Prior analyses suggest that T1D costs are driven by preventable hospitalizations, but recent escalations in insulin prices and use of technology may have changed the cost landscape. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of T1D medical costs from 2012 to 2016 using the OptumLabs Data Warehouse, a comprehensive database of deidentified administrative claims for commercial insurance enrollees. Our study population included 9445 individuals aged ≤18 years with T1D and ≥13 months of continuous enrollment. Costs were categorized into ambulatory care, hospital care, insulin, diabetes technology, and diabetes supplies. Mean costs for each category in each year were adjusted for inflation, as well as patient-level covariates including age, sex, race, census region, and mental health comorbidity. Results: Mean annual cost of T1D care increased from $11 178 in 2012 to $17 060 in 2016, driven primarily by growth in the cost of insulin ($3285 to $6255) and cost of diabetes technology ($1747 to $4581). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the cost of T1D care is now driven by mounting insulin prices and growing utilization and cost of diabetes technology. Given the positive effects of pumps and CGMs on T1D health outcomes, it is possible that short-term costs are offset by future savings. Long-term cost-effectiveness analyses should be undertaken to inform providers, payers, and policy-makers about how to support optimal T1D care in an era of increasing reliance on therapeutic technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric Diabetes
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • diabetes mellitus, type 1
  • health care costs
  • pediatrics
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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