About 4.4% of commercially insured Americans in 2016 were diagnosed with depression, representing more than nine million of the 216.2 million with commercial health insurance that year. The number of commercially insured Americans with depression rose by 33% between 2013 and 2016. In 2013, about six million were diagnosed with depression; they represented about 2.9% of the 201.0 million with commercial health insurance in 2013. Among those diagnosed with depression in 2016, about 22% (two million people) did not seek treatment.

These findings were reported by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in its study, “Two Million Commercially Insured Americans Diagnosed With Major Depression Are Not Seeking Any Treatment” as part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health Of America Report® series. The report analyzed data collected from the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Indexsm to examine U.S. commercially insured members diagnosed with major depressive disorder (major depression). The BCBS Health Index includes data from more than 41 million BCBS commercially insured members per year from birth to age 64, and it identifies more than 200 health conditions and quantifies how each condition affects Americans’ health, life expectancy and well-being. The goal was to determine statistics on those commercially insured Americans who are diagnosed with depression.

Additional findings include:

  • Of those seven million adults who are receiving treatment for depression, 47% use prescription treatment only, 32% use only therapy or health care professional visits, and 21% use both methods.
  • Of those diagnosed with depression, 63% are teenagers, and 47% are classified as “millennials” (reaching adulthood in the early 21st century).
  • About 20% of millennials diagnosed with depression are not seeking treatment.
  • About 85% of adults diagnosed with depression have co-occurring conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or substance use disorder.

The study concludes that it is critical to connect people to the individualized treatment that works for them. This is especially true due to the growing number of both pharmaceutical and behavioral therapeutic options that are now available.

The full text of “Two Million Commercially Insured Americans Diagnosed With Major Depression Are Not Seeking Any Treatment” was published March 4, 2019, by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. A free copy is available online at https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/articles/two-million-commercially-insured-americans-diagnosed-major-depression-not-seeking-treatment (accessed April 9, 2019).

OPEN MINDS last reported on this topic in “Over Half Of Consumers Stopped Antidepressant Or Psychotherapy For Depression After 5 Months,” which published on February 3, 2019. The article is available at https://www.openminds.com/market-intelligence/news/over-half-of-consumers-stopped-antidepressant-or-psychotherapy-for-depression-after-5-months-following-diagnosis/.

For more information, contact: Tess Thomson, Media Relations, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; 202-942-1082; Email: tess.thomson@bcbsa.com; Website: https://www.bcbs.com/

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