Author: FAIR Health / Source: yubanet.com
NEW YORK, NY, July 31, 2017 – From 2007 to 2016, private insurance claim lines with diagnoses of Lyme disease increased 185 percent in rural areas and 40 percent in urban areas, according to data from FAIR Health, a national, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information. Delving into its database of over 23 billion privately billed healthcare claims, FAIR Health uncovered new findings about this common, tick-borne, bacterial illness.
Rural and Urban Differences
FAIR Health data from the period 2007-2016 confirm findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that summer is the peak period for Lyme disease diagnoses, as reflected in claim lines with such diagnoses. But rural and urban areas differ. In June and July, claim lines with Lyme disease diagnoses were more common in rural than urban settings. But in the winter and early spring months (December through April), claim lines with Lyme disease diagnoses were reported more often in urban than rural settings.
Age also was a difference between rural and urban settings. In rural settings, claim lines with Lyme disease diagnoses were more common for middle-aged and older people: individuals aged 41 years and above accounted for 62 percent of the rural diagnoses. But, in urban populations, younger individuals accounted for a higher percentage of claim lines with Lyme disease diagnoses.
Spread of Lyme Disease
Although Lyme disease historically has been concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest, FAIR Health data suggest that it is spreading geographically. In 2007, claim lines with diagnoses of Lyme disease as a percentage of all claim lines with all diagnoses in the state were highest in the Northeast. The top states, from highest to lowest, were New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. But, in 2016, the top states, from highest to lowest, were Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina and New York–with the emergence of North Carolina suggesting significant expansion to a new region.
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