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Medical costs for Upstate adults with asthma total $793M per year

Upstate New York adults with asthma shoulder annual incremental direct medical costs totaling $793 million, according to a new report from Rochester–based Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, which is Central New York’s largest health insurer.

Central New York’s asthma costs were in the middle of the pack among Upstate regions, according to the Excellus report. Annual asthma costs for adults in Central New York were third-highest among five Upstate regions at $174 million.

Annual asthma costs were higher in Western New York, where they were $242 million, and the Finger Lakes, where they were $182 million. They were lower in the Utica/Rome/North Country region, where they totaled $123 million, and the Southern Tier, where they totaled $72 million.

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“It’s important that people with asthma work with their health-care provider to develop a plan for managing their condition,” Excellus Regional President Dr. Arthur Vercillo said in a news release. “By taking the right medication, avoiding triggers, and being able to recognize the symptoms and know what to do in the event of a sudden attack, asthma patients can live a normal life and avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room.”

In upstate New York, 11.6 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 have asthma, the report said. That’s slightly more than in Central New York, where 11.4 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 have asthma.

Central New York was tied with Western New York for the second-highest prevalence of asthma among adults under age 65. In Western New York, 11.4 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 also had asthma.

The Finger Lakes region had the highest prevalence of asthma among that age group at 13.4 percent. In the Utica/Rome/North Country region, 11 percent of adults under 65 had asthma, and in the Southern Tier region, 10.2 percent of adults in that age group had the condition, which is marked by inflammation of the airways.

Contact Seltzer

at rseltzer@cnybj.com

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