Report: Alzheimer's is costliest disease in United States

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Report: Alzheimer's is costliest disease in United States
Report: Alzheimer's is costliest disease in United States

Alzheimer's disease is the costliest disease to American society, according to “2016 Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures” (PDF), a newly issued report from the Alzheimer's Association.

The total national cost of caring for U.S. residents who have Alzheimer's and other dementias is estimated at $236 billion, excluding unpaid caregiving, of which $160 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid alone, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Total Medicaid spending for people with Alzheimer's disease is $43 billion, whereas out-of-pocket spending is estimated at $46 billion, or 19% of total care payments for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias. And total payments for healthcare, long-term care and hospice care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1 trillion in 2050 (in current dollars) from $236 billion, the report states.

An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease right now, according to the report. The figure includes approximately 5.2 million people aged 65 or more years and 200,000 people aged less than 65 years who have younger-onset Alzheimer's. Barring the development of medical breakthroughs, the number of people with Alzheimer's disease will increase to 13.8 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Other highlights of the report:

  • Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease. By mid-century, the rate will be one new case every 33 seconds.
  • Approximately 476,000 people aged 65 or more years now will develop Alzheimer's in the United States this year.
  • 3.3 million Americans aged 65 or more years who have Alzheimer's disease are women.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth-leading cause of death for those aged 65 or more years. From 2000 to 2013, the number of deaths associated with Alzheimer's disease increased 71%, whereas deaths from other major diseases, such as heart disease, breast cancer and HIV, decreased.

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