Medicare beneficiaries pay most for Alzheimer’s


Average out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease were more than 2.7 times higher than for enrollees overall in 2016, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Average out-of-pocket spending for chronic conditions, 2016

Out-of-pocket spending for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia was higher than any other chronic condition, averaging $14,913 in 2016 (the latest year for which data are available), compared with $5,460 for all beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, Kaiser investigators said in a recent report based on data for 5,369 respondents to the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.

Those totals were divided between services – including long-term care facilities, medical providers and supplies, and prescription drugs – and premiums for Medicare and other types of supplemental insurance. The premium associated with Alzheimer’s, $1,643, was the lowest of any major chronic condition, but the average cost for services, $13,269, was almost twice as high as the next most expensive condition, Parkinson’s disease, and more than four times higher than the overall Medicare average, Juliette Cubanski, PhD, and associates said.

Out-of-pocket costs are higher for patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s because “these beneficiaries are more likely to reside in a long-term care facility than those with other conditions,” they said. In 2016, out-of-pocket spending on long-term care facility services averaged over $27,000 for Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s and other dementia and over $28,000 for those with Parkinson’s disease. For all traditional Medicare beneficiaries, average out-of-pocket spending on such services was $1,014.

“The fact that traditional Medicare does not have an annual out-of-pocket limit and does not cover certain services that older adults are more likely to need may undermine the financial security that Medicare provides, especially for people with significant needs and limited incomes. Addressing these gaps would help to alleviate the financial burden of health care for people with Medicare, although doing so would also increase federal spending and taxes,” Dr. Cubanski and associates wrote.

Next Article: