Opioid epidemic affects most age groups, areas in U.S.

The growing opioid crisis in the United States is prompting varying treatment responses as shown by insurance claim lines from 2007 to 2016.
By Amy Wallace   |   June 13, 2017 at 12:58 PM
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June 13 (UPI) -- A new report finds that the opioid epidemic does not discriminate by age or areas of the country with impacts on nearly all age groups, regions of the country.

The report by FAIR Health, a national, non-profit organization that tracks healthcare costs and health insurance information, shows that from 2007 to 2016, private insurance claim lines for opioid abuse or dependence diagnoses were seen in every age group from 13- to 18-year-olds to people over age 80 in rural areas. In urban areas, opioid diagnoses were seen in every age group from people 13 to 18 to those between 71 and 80 years of age.

"FAIR Health is committed to using its vast data repository to shed light on the opioid crisis," Robin Gelburd, president of FAIR Health, said in a press release. "By spotlighting the substantial regional variation in opioid-related diagnoses and procedures, we hope to contribute to the work of those addressing this national epidemic."

Researchers at FAIR Health studied data from more than 23 billion privately billed health insurance claims to determine the impact of the opioid epidemic in rural settings and in cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Philadelphia, and corresponding states over a 10-year period from 2007 to 2016.

The study revealed that of the five most populous cities in the country, Philadelphia had the highest incidence of opioid diagnosis claims with 1.28 percent of all claim lines in the state of Pennsylvania in 2016 compared to 0.1 percent of all claim lines from all other cities that year.

For claims in New York state, with 43 percent of the total population being in New York City, only 13 percent of the state's claim lines of opioid diagnoses were from the city.

The study found the greatest increase in claim lines from opioid diagnoses in California coming from Southern California where the increase was 31,897 percent.

San Antonio had 66 percent of the claim lines for opioid diagnoses in Texas and the city had the largest increase in claim lines from 2007 to 2016 by 141,022 percent.

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