Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Childhood Mental Health Conditions, 2009-2015: Commercial Versus Medicaid Populations

Psychiatr Serv. 2020 Feb 1;71(2):184-187. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2019 Oct 16.


Objective: This study aimed to examine mental health conditions of children diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in a commercially insured population and compare them with a multistate Medicaid-insured population identified in prior research.

Methods: Data from the IBM MarketScan Commercial Database from January 1, 2009, to September 30, 2015, were used to identify mental health conditions among children ages 1-5 both with and without NAS. Frequency analyses were conducted to ascertain intrapopulation differences and differences between the commercially insured and Medicaid populations.

Results: The NAS rate in the Medicaid population was 28.7 times higher than in the commercially insured population. Although the sample of children with NAS was small, and the results must be interpreted with caution, elevated rates of childhood mental health conditions observed in the commercially insured population were comparable to the Medicaid population.

Conclusions: This analysis emphasizes the difference in rates of NAS between commercially insured and Medicaid populations.

Keywords: Alcohol and drug abuse; Child psychiatry; Health insurance; Mental health; NAS; Neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology