Statutory Health Insurance: Ten Percent of Expenditures Go to Care of Type 2 Diabetes

There is a widespread discussion among the actors in the German health care system about costs, challenges and the future. Researchers of the DZD partner German Diabetes Center (DDZ) in Düsseldorf have now found that in 2009 and 2010, one of ten euros was spent for the care of people with type 2 diabetes. This corresponds to costs amounting to 16.1 billion euros per year.

In the current issue of the journal Diabetic Medicine, the DDZ scientists published their study on the development of costs for persons with and without diabetes covered by statutory health insurance in Germany in 2009 und 2010. Taking into account the 2010 population pyramid, the costs of the insured persons were standardized according to age and gender and then compared. The evaluation showed that the mean annual per capita costs of a person with type 2 diabetes amounted to 4,957 euros in 2009 and 5,146 euros in 2010. The total cost of treating an insured person in 2009 and 2010 – standardized according to age and gender – was 1.7 times the cost of an insured person without diabetes.

“In our study, the greatest differences were found in costs for drugs and hospitalization,” said PD Dr. Wolfgang Rathmann, deputy director of the Institute of Biometry and Epidemiology at the German Diabetes Center and member of the Research Coordination Board of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD). Costs for drugs were 2.2 times higher, and hospitalization costs were 1.8 times higher for people with type 2 diabetes, Rathmann added. In total, in the two years compared in the study, ten percent of the total expenditures of the statutory health insurance went for the care of people with type 2 diabetes.

For the calculations, a representative sample (6.8 percent) of all persons with statutory health insurance in Germany was used (4.3 million insured persons). The age- and gender-specific costs per capita were evaluated that were incurred by insured persons with and without type 2 diabetes in 2009 and 2010. The costs included expenditures for services by doctors, dentists, drugs, hospital stays, sickness benefits and other expenditures (including therapeutic products and medical aids, expenditures for services abroad, prevention and self-help). The evaluation was made possible by the newly defined rules for data transparency in 2011. In these, it is stipulated that routine health care data provided by the statutory health insurance system may be transmitted to the German Institute for Documentation and Information (DIMDI) and used for healthcare analyses. Until now, disease cost analyses have been conducted mainly on the basis of routine data of individual large health insurance companies or studies.

This study was funded, among others, by the Federal Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (German Center for Diabetes Research).