Skip to main content


Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health of America Report shows a 33 percent increase in ADHD diagnoses among children in the Philadelphia region

By March 28, 2019July 23rd, 2020BCBSA News Press Releases
Health of America Graphic featuring students boarding a yellow school bus in the background and text reading: ADHD Diagnoses are most prevalent among middle school children

The number of commercially insured children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increased 33 percent from 2010 to 2017 in the Philadelphia region, according to a new study of medical claims by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). Nationally, almost 2.4 million commercially insured children were diagnosed with ADHD, climbing 31 percent. Part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health of America® series, “The Impact of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder on the Health of America’s Children,” found that about 40 percent of children with ADHD across the country were also diagnosed with at least one other behavioral health disorder.

Nearly half of children with ADHD in the U.S. were treated only with medication in 2017, though the report shows this number is beginning to decline. According to experts, the best way to treat ADHD is through a combination of both medication and behavioral therapy.

Additional national findings from the study are:

  • ADHD is most prevalent among middle school-aged children (11-13 years old), and boys are diagnosed about twice as much as girls.
  • Diagnosis rates are higher in the south and lower in the west, with a nearly three-fold difference between the rates of the highest and lowest states.
  • ADHD accounts for 16 percent of the impact all health conditions have on Generation Z (0-19 years old).

“This report is critically important in shining a light on adverse health conditions affecting our members, and to start a conversation that helps to remove the stigma associated with behavioral health issues in children,” said Dr. Ginny Calega, vice president of Medical Affairs at Independence Blue Cross. “We hope the report encourages parents to speak with their doctors about their children who may be exhibiting symptoms of ADHD so those kids can get the appropriate support and help they need.”

This is the 25th study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series, a collaboration between BCBSA and Blue Health Intelligence®, which uses a market-leading claims database to uncover key trends and insights into health care affordability and access to care. The report was done in partnership with HealthCore®, a wholly-owned and independently operated health outcomes subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. This report focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD among commercially insured American children 2-18 years old from 2010-2017. The study population was identified by ADHD diagnosis codes in Blue Cross and Blue Shield medical claims.

For more information, 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 or follow us on Twitter.

About Blue Health Intelligence
Leveraging the power of medical and pharmacy claims data from more than 180 million Americans, Blue Health Intelligence (BHI) delivers insights that empower healthcare organizations to improve patient care, reduce costs, and optimize performance. With the largest, most up-to-date, and uniform data set in healthcare, BHI provides an accurate representation of the health profile of commercially insured Americans. Our team of data analysts, clinicians, IT experts, and epidemiologists provide analytics, software as a service, and in-depth consulting to payers, providers, employers, medical device companies, and other healthcare stakeholders. Blue Health Intelligence is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and carries the trade name of Health Intelligence Company, LLC. For more information, visit

About HealthCore
The HealthCore name and logo are registered trademarks owned by HealthCore, Inc., a wholly owned and independently operated health outcomes subsidiary of Anthem, Inc.

Ruth Stoolman
215-241- 4807 (office)
215-667-9537 (cell)