A new study from at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the University of South Australia has found that women with diabetes incur significant out-of-pocket expenses in managing their health, with costs rising as the disease continues.
Researchers found middle-aged and older women spend almost $500 a year from their own funds, visiting a diverse range of health services to manage their diabetes. Their findings were published in the journal PLOS One.
“Our findings were that most women (88.3 per cent) consulted at least one health care practitioner in the previous 12 months for their diabetes, including medical doctors, allied health practitioners and complementary medicine practitioners, spending on average $492.60 per woman a year,” said Distinguished Professor Jon Adams, deputy head of the School of Public Health at UTS.
He continued: “Our analysis suggests approximately $252 million is spent annually on out-of-pocket expenditure for diabetes management by Australian women aged 50 years and over. The results of this study provide important insights regarding public and private health care use by middle-aged and older Australian women living with diabetes.”
The economic burden these women are placed under warrants further investigation to understand how health care services (and the integration of such services) can better address their biopsychosocial needs, the researchers said.
However, the researchers said the economic burden of self-care of chronic illness by individuals and households is often overlooked in Australia in favor of analyses that center on the macro-economy and the cost to the Australian government.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease of inadequate control of blood levels of glucose. Type 1 and 2 diabetes are the main subtypes, each with different pathophysiology, presentation, and management, but both have a potential for hyperglycaemia. Poor management of diabetes can lead to other chronic health problems such as increased cardiovascular disease risk.