Lyme disease claims jumped nearly 120% since 2007

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Over a span of nine years, Lyme disease claims in the U.S. increased 117 percent, from 0.027 percent of all private medical claims in 2007 to 0.058 percent in 2018, according to a FAIR Health analysis released Dec. 10. 

FAIR Health, a nonprofit organization working for national healthcare cost and insurance transparency, analyzed 2007-18 data from its repository of over 30 billion private healthcare claims. 

Six key findings: 

1. The analysis revealed 94 percent of all tick-borne disease claims in 2018 were for Lyme disease.

2. Lyme disease claims increased 121 percent in urban areas during the study period, compared to a 105 percent jump in rural areas. The difference could be due in part to people receiving treatment for the disease in urban settings, despite contracting the disease in a rural area, FAIR Health says.

3. In 2018, the highest share of claims were in June (10.7 percent) and July (11 percent). The months with the lowest share were December (6.2 percent) and February (6.5 percent).

4. The five states with the most Lyme disease claims in 2007 were all in the Northeast. In 2018, four states were in the Northeast and one (North Carolina) was in the South.

5. In both rural and urban areas in 2018, more claims were submitted for women than men, and individuals ages 51 to 60 held the largest share of claims compared to any other age group.

6. The most common procedure performed for a Lyme disease diagnosis in 2018 was a 15-minute office or other outpatient visit. The procedure performed the most times per Lyme disease patient was 45-minute psychotherapy.

About 30,000 cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. are reported to the CDC annually, but it is estimated that about 300,000 people a year may get the disease, according to the CDC.

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