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STUDY: NJ Women twice as likely as men to have major depression diagnosis

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) revealed today that 3.5 percent of its members in the commercial (fully and self-insured) markets who live in New Jersey have been diagnosed with major depression and that women are twice as likely as men to have been diagnosed with the condition.  Horizon BCBSNJ’s study was released at the same time that the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) issued a nationwide study, “Major Depression:  The Impact on Overall Health”,( https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/reports/major-depression-the-impact-overall-health) examining how major depression is linked to other chronic health conditions.  That study revealed major depression has a diagnosis rate of 4.4 percent nationwide, affecting more than 9 million commercially insured Americans. 

Horizon BCBSNJ’s major depression findings include:

  • Major depression has a diagnosis rate of 3.5 percent among Horizon BCBSNJ’s commercial fully-insured and self-insured market segments affecting 57,200 New Jerseyans (excludes Medicare, Medicaid and FEP members as well as any commercial member not living in New Jersey).
  • The prevalence of major depression among women is twice that of men. (4 percent versus 2 percent, respectively)
  • Of the 57,200 members diagnosed with major depression, 15 percent have been diagnosed with additional co-occurring behavioral health conditions including; substance use disorder, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
  • The illness burden is twice as high among those diagnosed with major depression resulting in the total cost of care being more than double the cost of individuals who are not affected by this illness.

“Horizon is committed to connecting our members with behavioral health conditions, including major depression, to the care they need,” said Suzanne Kunis, Horizon BCBSNJ, Director, Behavioral Health Solutions. “Collaborating with our network of providers, as well as cutting-edge organizations like Quartet and AbleTo, Horizon has made the integration of medical and behavioral care a priority.  Successfully treating behavioral health problems is as essential to achieving good health as managing chronic medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease and as this study demonstrates it is also directly linked to a person’s overall health.”

Doctor’s offices typically spend significant administrative time coordinating mental healthcare for patients. Quartet identifies patients with underlying behavioral health conditions and helps their primary care physicians initiate them into the right care, while facilitating a collaborative approach for ongoing care. (https://www.horizonblue.com/about-us/news/newsroom/horizon-collaborates-quartet-to-better-integrate-mental-and-physical-care-and-improve-total-patient

Members with chronic health conditions often experience anxiety or depression related to the complexities of their disease. AbleTo’s structured therapy programs strengthen medical recovery and self-care among members with chronic or complex clinical needs via remote counseling and coaching. (http://www.njbiz.com/article/20170607/NJBIZ01/170609882/startup-with-horizon-as-an-investor-is-making-behavioral-health-inroads-in-nj-and-beyond)

“Horizon wants for our members what we all want – quality of life and good health.  We are committed to driving innovation that improves access to high quality, affordable behavioral health care.  If you or someone you know could be suffering from a behavioral health condition, please contact Horizon Behavioral Health at 1-800-626-2212,” Kunis said.


About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey


Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance products and services.  Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive.  Learn more at HorizonBlue.com.  Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.8 million members.

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Published on: May 10, 2018, 11:35 AM ET
Last updated on: May 11, 2018, 11:47 AM ET