Key findings:

  • The number of Americans with diabetes increased 29% from 2007 to 2017.
  • Total direct medical costs for diabetes were $237 billion in 2017.
  • South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska had the largest increases in people with diabetes from 2007 to 2017.

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and another 84 million have prediabetes. Genetic predisposition, poor diet and lack of exercise are the leading causes of diabetes in America. Obesity is on the rise in America, which is leading the increase in Americans developing diabetes. The increase in the number of diabetics is taking a toll on medical costs.

The American Diabetes Association estimated the total direct medical costs of diabetes at $237 billion in 2017, a 26% increase from 2012. With rates of diabetes increasing 29% over the last 10 years, and medical costs increasing at a similar rate of 26%, insurance premiums for diabetics likely follow the same pace.

Insurance premiums can have a unique impact from state to state, given health insurance exchanges and Medicare and Medicaid. Growing health care costs ultimately lead to increases in health insurance premiums. We here at QuoteWizard wanted to see which states had the highest increases in diabetes, which could lead to higher medical costs and insurance premiums.

States with the highest increases in diabetes

QuoteWizard analysts looked at CDC diabetes data to compare the prevalence of people with diabetes in each state over a 10-year period, from 2007 to 2017, to see which states had the highest increases in diabetes. Rankings one through 50 below are ranked by states with the highest rate of increases in diabetes to the lowest rate of increases in diabetes. Analysts also included data on direct medical expenses by state to reflect the total cost of diabetes in each state.

Rank (highest) State Increase in diabetes % Diabetes 2017 % Diabetes 2007 Direct medical expenses (billions)
1 SD 66% 11.1 6.7 $0.5
2 NE 44% 10.2 7.1 $1.0
3 KS 44% 10.5 7.3 $1.7
4 ND 43% 9 6.3 $0.5
5 HI 42% 10.9 7.7 $1.0
6 IA 41% 9.6 6.8 $2.0
7 WV 41% 15.2 10.8 $1.7
8 CO 40% 7.4 5.3 $2.6
9 WI 40% 9.1 6.5 $4.1
10 SC 40% 13.4 9.6 $4.3
11 OR 39% 9.6 6.9 $3.1
12 IN 39% 11.8 8.5 $5.0
13 CA 38% 10.5 7.6 $27.0
14 MN 37% 7.8 5.7 $3.5
15 ME 37% 10.7 7.8 $1.0
16 NM 37% 10.7 7.8 $1.5
17 AL 37% 14.1 10.3 $4.2
18 CT 34% 9.8 7.3 $2.7
19 AR 33% 12.2 9.2 $2.2
20 LA 33% 13.6 10.2 $4.2
21 VA 31% 10.5 8 $6.1
22 MO 30% 10.4 8 $4.9
23 NV 30% 10.4 8 $2.0
24 DE 30% 11.3 8.7 $0.7
25 KY 30% 12.9 9.9 $3.6
26 WY 29% 9 7 $0.3
27 WA 28% 9.1 7.1 $5.0
28 MA 28% 9.5 7.4 $5.5
29 NY 28% 10.5 8.2 $15.1
30 MS 28% 14.2 11.1 $2.4
31 AZ 25% 10.5 8.4 $5.1
32 IL 25% 11 8.8 $8.7
33 MI 25% 11 8.8 $7.0
34 NC 25% 11.4 9.1 $7.7
35 OK 25% 12.7 10.2 $2.8
36 RI 24% 8.9 7.2 $0.8
37 MD 24% 10.4 8.4 $4.9
38 UT 22% 7.1 5.8 $1.3
39 FL 22% 10.6 8.7 $19.3
40 PA 22% 10.6 8.7 $9.3
41 AK 21% 7.4 6.1 $0.4
42 NJ 21% 11.1 9.2 $6.7
43 MT 20% 7.9 6.6 $0.6
44 OH 19% 11.3 9.5 $9.0
45 VT 17% 8.2 7 $0.4
46 NH 17% 8.4 7.2 $0.9
47 TX 16% 11.9 10.3 $18.9
48 GA 13% 11.4 10.1 $7.8
49 ID 10% 8.7 7.9 $1.0
50 TN 10% 13.1 11.9 $5.2

Diabetes increasing in every state

South Dakota leads the nation with a 66% increase in diabetes over the 10-year period, but the larger issue is that each state had an increase of at least 10%. Tennessee, with one of the highest rates of diabetes in the country, had one of the lowest increases, at 10%.

North Dakota, Colorado, Iowa and Nebraska all ranked in the top 10 for increases in diabetes. In 2017, they also ranked in the top 20 for lowest prevalence of diabetes. Across the board, there are states that have low rates of diabetes overall, but are suffering increases among residents. It’s the states with the highest increases that could see the biggest shock to health insurance premiums.

Health insurance premiums spike with high increases

When states see an increase in residents with diabetes, it pushes up the costs of medical expenses. When medical expenses go up, so do insurance premiums. The states that are seeing the highest increases in diabetes could be the same states that see higher health care costs. Higher health care costs are likely putting the biggest strain on health insurance premiums in states where diabetes is on the rise.

Government-provided insurance such as Medicare, Medicaid and the military cover more than two-thirds of all diabetes-related health care costs, leaving private-sector insurance companies responsible for 31% of diabetes health care costs. It’s those with private health insurance plans that could see their premiums affected. People with diabetes already pay 2.3 times more for medical expenditures than those without diabetes. However, those without diabetes could experience increased health insurance premiums from the overall health care expenditures diabetes is costing insurance companies.

Methodology

QuoteWizard analysts compared Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on crude prevalence of people with diabetes. We compared crude prevalence of diabetes in each state from 2007 to 2017. We then found the rate of increase in crude prevalence for each state and ranked states from highest to lowest rate of increase in crude prevalence from 2007 to 2017. Accompanying rate of increase and crude prevalence figures is American Diabetes Association data on direct medical expenses for diabetics in each state for the year 2017.