Table 3

Medical service use and cost per unit of medical use attributable to diabetes, 1987–2011

Year 1987Year 2000–2001Year 2010–2011
Without diabetesWith diabetesDifferenceWithout diabetesWith diabetesDifferenceWithout diabetesWith diabetesDifference
Mean frequency, per person per year
 Outpatient visit5.417.592.18*7.9511.113.16*7.0810.042.96*
 ER visit0.280.400.12*0.240.340.10*0.220.310.10*
 Hospital admission0.210.360.16*0.170.310.13*0.140.250.11*
 Nights of hospital stay1.653.141.49*1.011.950.94*0.741.450.71*
 Prescription medication purchase§12.9325.4712.53*18.1834.6616.48*19.3537.9318.58*
Unit cost, $ per encounter
 Outpatient visit231233NS223236NS275275NS
 ER visit125102NS461483229861,05266
 Hospital admission6,7437,7721,029*10,76212,3671,605*13,28514,6451,360*
 Nights of hospital stay819898NS1,7551,908NS2,3762,446NS
 Prescription medication purchase§4444NS718312*7612549*
  • The sources of data for the authors’ analysis are the 1987 NMES, and the 2000–2001 and 2010–2011 data from the MEPS. NS, not significantly different than zero.

  • *Significantly greater than zero at P < 0.01 level.

  • †Significantly different compared with previous time point at P < 0.01 level.

  • ‡Significantly different compared with previous time point at P < 0.05 level.

  • §The number of prescription medication purchases was defined as the sum of the numbers of purchases of all individual medications, including initial purchases and refills. The unit cost of each prescription medication purchase was defined as the average spending per each encounter. The difference in unit cost by diabetes status measures the increased spending for diabetes patients at each prescription medication encounter.