Use of Commercial Claims Data for Evaluating Trends in Lyme Disease Diagnoses, United States, 2010-2018

Emerg Infect Dis. 2021;27(2):499-507. doi: 10.3201/eid2702.202728.


We evaluated MarketScan, a large commercial insurance claims database, for its potential use as a stable and consistent source of information on Lyme disease diagnoses in the United States. The age, sex, and geographic composition of the enrolled population during 2010-2018 remained proportionally stable, despite fluctuations in the number of enrollees. Annual incidence of Lyme disease diagnoses per 100,000 enrollees ranged from 49 to 88, ≈6-8 times higher than that observed for cases reported through notifiable disease surveillance. Age and sex distributions among Lyme disease diagnoses in MarketScan were similar to those of cases reported through surveillance, but proportionally more diagnoses occurred outside of peak summer months, among female enrollees, and outside high-incidence states. Misdiagnoses, particularly in low-incidence states, may account for some of the observed epidemiologic differences. Commercial claims provide a stable data source to monitor trends in Lyme disease diagnoses, but certain important characteristics warrant further investigation.

Keywords: Borrelia; Lyme disease; United States; bacteria; incidence; public health surveillance; ticks; vector-borne infections; zoonoses.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insurance Claim Review / statistics & numerical data*
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / epidemiology
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Seasons
  • Tick-Borne Diseases / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology