Tools & Resources

The Costs of Hospitalization for People with Diabetes

People with diabetes are more likely to experience costly and longer hospital stays, many of which come with surprise bills. The average hospital stay for a patient with diabetes is a full day longer than other patients.

The burden of hospital costs does not end with the hospital stay itself; part of the cost of hospital care for people with diabetes is the cost of both inpatient and outpatient drugs. This includes insulin, but also many other therapies to treat diabetes and its many comorbidities.

Findings on hospital populations convey not only an issue around the high costs of diabetes management but also glaring examples of health inequity. For example, while most amputations—which are most frequently associated with the diabetes population and result in extreme direct and indirect costs to patients—are preventable with specialized care, they occur 10 times more often in lower income populations, where specialists may be less available or hospital staff less well trained to refer these individuals to needed preventive care. 

The Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association reported that a foot or leg amputation costs $30,000 to $60,000 in initial hospital costs, plus $40,000 to $60,000 in follow-up care costs over the following three years. This assessment did not account for lost employment, or additional costs of mental health and other services commonly required by amputees.