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UnitedHealth Group calculates cost of diabetes as $3.35 trillion by 2020 Posted: December 1st, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

In a recently released study, UnitedHealth Group's Center for Health Reform & Modernization sounds the alarm on the rising cost of diabetes care in the United States. According the report, if current trends continue, more than 50 percent of all Americans could have diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2020. As a result, diabetes-related costs could reach as much as $3.35 trillion and comprise 10 percent of all health care spending by the end of the decade.

"Our new research shows there is a diabetes time bomb ticking in America, but fortunately there are practical steps that can be taken now to defuse it," said Simon Stevens, executive vice president, UnitedHealth Group, and chairman of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization.

The report focuses on four ways to contain costs for patients, private health insurance companies and public health plans such as Medicare and Medicaid. The recommendations fall into the following categories:

  • Lifestyle Intervention to Combat Obesity
  • Early Intervention to Prevent Pre-Diabetes from Becoming Diabetes
  • Diabetes Control through Medication and Care Compliance Programs
  • Lifestyle Intervention Strategies for Diabetes Control

UnitedHealth Group is the parent company of numerous health care businesses including UnitedHealthcare. The center's report draws in part from the company's experience serving 75 million worldwide members.