(HealthDay News) — During the past decade, out-of-pocket (OOP) costs have declined for individuals with diabetes, according to research published online March 25 in Diabetes Care.

Rui Li, PhD, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used 2001–2011 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to assess trends in OOP costs for individuals aged 18–64 years with diabetes.

The researchers found that the proportion of individuals with diabetes who have high OOP costs dropped by 5 percentage points (P<0.01). In 2011, 23% of individuals with diabetes had a high OOP burden. During the study period, significant changes occurred in the proportions of diabetes patients who were publicly insured (22% decrease) or uninsured (12% decrease). No significant changes in OOP costs occurred in diabetes patients with private insurance or middle-to-high incomes, but significant reductions were observed for those who were poor and near-poor (21% decrease) and low-income (13% decrease).

“The past decade has seen a narrowing of insurance coverage and income-related disparities in high OOP burden in people with diabetes, yet almost one-fourth of all people with diabetes still face a high OOP burden,” the authors write.

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