Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Alzheimer's Association: 5.3 million people have it, it triples health care costs for people over 65

Reuters is reporting that 5.3 million people now have Alzheimer’s disease, information contained in a report released by the Alzheimer’s Association Tueday March 24. The summary appears on MSNBC now here and was reported on NBC Nightly News.

The cost to Medicaid, families, and Medicare is staggering compared to patients without Alzheimers.

Elderly people sometimes develop milder dementia and memory problems without having Alzheimers plaques because of circulation problems associated with heart failure.

The Association is having a Public Policy Forum at the Omni Sheraton Hotel in Washington March 23-25 2009, and here is the text (PDF) of the report that it released.

The blunt truth is that Alzheimer’s triples health care costs for Americans age 65 and older. Because of the potentially staggering effect on all extended family members, this disease is becoming our number 1 public health problem, even dwarfing the predictions for HIV back in the 1980s. Since so much of the cost is custodial care and not medical, much of it is not covered by Medicare normally. Long Term Care insurance comes into consideration, as covered on this blog before; but the new report could affect actuarial data and premiums for LTC policies soon.

Picture: The Woodley Hotel on Rock Creek Park in Washington DC, near the Omni Sheraton, the closest picture that I have to the meeting site.

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