Impairment Types and Combinations Among Adolescents and Young Adults with Disabilities: Colorado 2014-2018

Acad Pediatr. 2024 May-Jun;24(4):587-595. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2023.10.010. Epub 2023 Nov 2.


Objective: Understanding the types of functional challenges faced by adolescents and young adults with disabilities (AYA-WD) can help payers, clinicians, community-based service providers, and policymakers recognize and meet needs. This paper describes state-level prevalence rates for 1) AYA-WD overall and for 2) impairment types singly and in combinations; and 3) examines how rates may differ between those insured by Medicaid versus commercial insurance.

Methods: This descriptive study uses Colorado's All Payer Claims Dataset 2014-2018 to identify insured 10- to 26-year-olds (Medicaid only: 333,931; commercially only: 392,444). It then applies the previously validated Children with Disabilities Algorithm (CWDA) and its companion, the Diagnosis-to-Impairment-Type Algorithm (DITA), to compare state-level prevalence rates by insurance source for disability overall and for each of five impairment types singly and in combination.

Results: Disability prevalence was greater among the Medicaid-insured AYA-WD by +7.6% points (pp)-Medicaid: 11.9% (47,654/333,931), commercial: 4.3% (16,907/392,444). Most AYA-WD had a single impairment, but the prevalence of AYA-WD with two or more impairments was greater among the Medicaid-insured than the commercially insured (+9.9 pp; Medicaid: 33.5% [15,963/47,654], commercial: 23.7% [3992/16, 907]), as was the prevalence of impairment types that were physical (+6.7 pp; Medicaid: 54.7% [26,054/47,654], commercial: 48.0% [8121/16,907]); developmental (+4.1 pp; Medicaid: 35.4% [16,874/47,654], commercial: 31.3% [5290/16,907]); psychiatric (+6.7 pp; Medicaid 21.3% [10,175/47,654], commercial: 14.6% [2470/16,907]), and intellectual (+9.3 pp; Medicaid: 26.2% [12,501/47,654], commercial: 16.9% [2858/16,907]).

Conclusions: CWDA and DITA can be used to understand the rates at which impairment types and combinations occur in a population with childhood-onset disabilities.

Keywords: algorithm; chronic conditions; claims; disabilities; medical complexity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Disabled Children / statistics & numerical data
  • Disabled Persons* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Medicaid* / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult