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Dementia healthcare costs greater than any other disease

October 28, 2015
by Megan Combs, Associate Editor
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Healthcare costs associated with dementia are 57 percent greater than costs associated with any other disease, including cancer and heart disease. According to a new National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study, spending was around $287,000 for people with probable dementia and $183,000 for other Medicare beneficiaries in the study. 

Researchers analyzed the "social" costs of all types of care for 1,702 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries 70 years and older who died between 2005 and 2007. The patients were divided into four groups: those with high dementia probability; those with cancer; those with heart disease; or those with another cause of death. Researchers calculated costs from Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, out-of-pocket and informal care over the patients' last five years of life.

"This complex analysis lays out the significant health care costs to society and individuals in the last five years of life," National Institute of Aging Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D., said in a press release. "It provides an important picture of the risks that families face, particularly those with dementia and those who may be least able to bear major financial risk. Such insights are critically important as we examine how best to support the aging of the U.S. population."

The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


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