‘Penny-wise, Pound-foolish’ Approach May Up Costs in Diabetes

Among US Medicare beneficiaries with type 2 diabetes, out-of-pocket expenses diminish adherence to medication and may end up increasing overall healthcare costs in the long run, a new study finds.

The results, from an analysis of Medicare claims data for 2006–2009, were presented by research economist Joanna P MacEwan, PhD, of Precision Health Economics, Oakland, California, here at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2015 Scientific Sessions.

The findings indicate that what Medicare may believe it is saving by having patients pay high copays could end up costing it more for other medical expenses.

“While increased cost-sharing may lower pharmacy costs, it may also decrease adherence and raise total expenditures,” Dr MacEwan said in her introduction.

She told Medscape Medical News, “Elderly patients are sensitive to treatment costs, and their adherence may decline if the addition of new drugs or rising cost of current therapies increases their out-of-pocket spending, and poor adherence is associated with higher medical costs.

Source: Medscape