Feb 7, 2015

Cost of Alzheimer's Could Soar to $1 Trillion a Year

A treatment introduced in 2025 would cut the number of people in 2050 who have Alzheimer's by 42% – from 13.5 million to 7.8 million.

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Cost of Alzheimer's Could Soar to $1 trillion a Year by 2050 Alzheimer's Reading Room

A report from the research firm The Lewin Group, commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Association, found that on the current cost trajectory Medicare spending to care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will increase more than fourfold in 2050.

That equals one of every $3 Medicare will spend in 2050, and nearly what we spend on all of Medicare today.

The Alzheimer's Association's report shows the positive impact of adequate funding and the potential consequences of under-funding.
  • In 2015, the costs to all payers for the care of people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias will total an estimated $226 billion, with Medicare and Medicaid paying 68 percent of the costs. Without a treatment costs are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.
  • Reaching the 2025 goal would save payers $220 billion over five years and $367 billion in the year 2050 alone. Savings to Medicare and Medicaid would account for nearly 60 percent of the savings.
  • People living with Alzheimer's and other dementias and their families would save $54 billion over the first five years in their out-of-pocket costs if the 2025 goal is met.

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The U.S. could save $220 billion within the first five years of a treatment for Alzheimer's disease being introduced, according to a new report from the Alzheimer's Association. The Alzheimer's Association report, Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer's Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars, takes an in-depth look at the potential lives saved and positive economic impact if a hypothetical treatment that effectively delays the onset of Alzheimer's disease is discovered and made available to Americans by 2025.
  • The report shows that meeting the 2025 goal of the national Alzheimer's plan would reduce the number of individuals affected by the disease by 2.5 million within the first five years of a treatment being available.
"Alzheimer's disease is a triple threat, with soaring prevalence, lack of treatment and enormous costs, that no one can afford," said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "If we're going to change the current trajectory of the disease, thus saving lives and money, we need consistent and meaningful investments in research from the federal government."
  • The report reinforces the value of reaching the 2025 goal set by the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease mandate by the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA). If the federal government were to invest $2 billion per year as recommended by the scientific community, then it would recoup its investment within the first three years after a treatment became available.
"Promising research is ready for the pipeline, and leading scientists believe the national goal is attainable if we accelerate federal funding," said Johns. "With millions of lives and trillions of dollars at stake, we need real progress in the fight against Alzheimer's."

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The Impact of Introducing a Hypothetical Treatment in 2025

A treatment introduced in 2025 that delays the onset of Alzheimer's would cut the number of people in 2050 who have the disease by 42% – from 13.5 million to 7.8 million.

While delaying onset, finding a cure and saving lives are the most important goals, bringing some financial relief to the health care system and those affected by the disease is also a top priority.
  • Under the Alzheimer's Accountability Act, Congress has required the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to submit a professional judgment budget to Congress every fiscal year until 2025 to help guide them in allocating funding for Alzheimer's research.
The Alzheimer's Association's report shows the positive impact of adequate funding and the potential consequences of under-funding.
  • In 2015, the costs to all payers for the care of people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias will total an estimated $226 billion, with Medicare and Medicaid paying 68 percent of the costs. Without a treatment costs are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.
  • Reaching the 2025 goal would save payers $220 billion over five years and $367 billion in the year 2050 alone. Savings to Medicare and Medicaid would account for nearly 60 percent of the savings.
  • People living with Alzheimer's and other dementias and their families would save $54 billion over the first five years in their out-of-pocket costs if the 2025 goal is met.
SOURCE Alzheimer's Association


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Change the Trajectory of Alzheimer's or Bankrupt Medicare | Commentary
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About the Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. It is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research. The Association's mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer's. Visit www.alz.org or call 800.272.3900.