ADHD trends indicate a need to continue focusing on diagnosis, community initiatives and treatment for a growing number of American children

For more information contact:
Kelly Cannon
W: 816.395.3711, C: 816.686-3842

KANSAS CITY, MO. (March 28, 2019) —The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) today released its latest Health of America Report®, “The Impact of ADHD on the Health of America’s Children,” which highlights a rising trend in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses among children across the United States. In its 24th study of the Health of America Report® series, BCBSA analyzed medical claims of ADHD diagnoses and treatment among commercially insured American children 2-18 years old from 2010-2017.

The report shows that ADHD is the second most impactful condition on children’s health in the United States, accounting for 16 percent of the impact all health conditions have on Generation Z (0-19 years old), as measured by the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index. Nearly 2.4 million commercially insured American children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2017, climbing 31 percent in eight years.

The study analyzed the prescribed treatment of ADHD diagnoses including medication-only, behavioral therapy only and combination treatment. The analysis found that treatment patterns vary widely and are gradually changing. Providers are increasingly recommending combination therapy and medication treatment, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Still, nearly half of all children with ADHD were treated with medication only in 2017.

“The stark variance in treatment demonstrates a need for standard protocols to guide both patients and care teams on their treatment options.” said Greg Sweat, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC). “Continued monitoring of diagnoses and treatment recommendations will be critical as we look to improve the value and cost of care for ADHD in accordance with industry approved coding guidelines. “By conducting clinical and translational medical research, BCBSA and its companies are making informed decisions and improving the quality of health care solutions for the communities in which they serve. “At Blue KC , we are constantly evaluating our practices and policies to improve the delivery and cost of care for our members,” said Dr. Sweat.

The Health of America Report® series is a collaboration between BCBSA and Blue Health Intelligence (BHI), which uses a market-leading claims database to uncover key trends and insights in healthcare affordability and access to care. Underscoring the companies’ deep commitment to helping Americans live healthier lives, BCBS programs focus on driving positive health outcomes and addressing the most pressing issues affecting the country today.

To learn more about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are improving the health and wellness of members and their communities and to read the full report and other Health of America Reports visit:

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out our blog. Lyft®, CVS Health® and Walgreens® are trademark owned by their respective owners and used for identification purposes only and are in no way associated or affiliated with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.