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- A Medicare Claims Study Conducted by the
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The study, titled "The Real-World Medicare Costs of Alzheimer's Disease: Considerations for Policy and Care," found that even though many Medicare beneficiaries are impacted by Alzheimer's disease, Medicare spending on Alzheimer's disease is low. Medicare covers medical screening, diagnosis, treatment and only limited short-term care associated with Alzheimer's disease. It is families and state Medicaid programs who bear the brunt of the remaining costs of this expensive disease. The study results highlight that it is not too early to consider how to better integrate Medicare and state Medicaid programs to fund and improve patient outcomes, which will likely involve better diagnosis, treatment, and care coordination.
"Contrary to what you might read in the media, Alzheimer's disease is not bankrupting Medicare. While most patients with Alzheimer's disease are beneficiaries of Medicare, it is state Medicaid programs and families that are facing most of the costs," said
The study examined almost 340,000 Medicare beneficiaries using nine years of Medicare claims data and compared end of life costs in the years prior to the death of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and dementia to individuals without dementia. At the time of death, approximately 21 percent had Alzheimer's, 18 percent had general dementia, 54 percent had no dementia, and 11 percent had Parkinson's disease or another specific dementia at death.
In the last eight years of life, the average annual Medicare cost for Alzheimer's disease was
The authors of the study include:
"There are still far too many people whose dementia diagnoses are either missed entirely or identified in a general way, without confirming the cognitive issue," said
This study was funded by the
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