Health Claims On The Rise For Kids With Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity-Related Conditions
It’s no secret that American children have gotten fatter in recent decades.
Now a new study joins earlier research showing the consequences: A sharp rise in insurance claims for youth with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions more often associated with older adults.
Claims for Type 2 diabetes — formerly known as “adult-onset” diabetes — among young people aged 0 to 22 years old more than doubled between 2011 and 2015, according to an analysis of a large national database of claims paid by about 60 insurers.
At the same time, claims for prediabetes among children and youth rose 110 percent, while high blood pressure claims rose 67 percent. Sleep apnea, a condition where a patient temporarily stops breathing while sleeping, rose 161 percent.
The findings “not only raise quality-of-life questions for children, but also the … kind of resources that will be necessary to address this emerging situation,” said Robin Gelburd, president of the nonprofit Fair Health, a national clearing house for claims data that offers free medical cost comparison tools to consumers and sells data to insurers and health systems.
To be sure, the analysis is certainly not the first to note a rise in obesity or Type 2 diabetes in this age group; nor does it explore the possible reasons behind the apparent increase in claims. One factor in the rise could simply be increased awareness and testing for the problem, while variations between states could reflect differences in patient ethnicities, how doctors practice, insurance rules or all of those factors.
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