“Spotting Alzheimer’s Early Could Save America $7.9 Trillion,” by Ivan Levingston, Bloomberg
“Spending on care for people alive in the U.S. right now who will develop the affliction is projected to cost $47 trillion over the course of their lives, a report issued Tuesday by the Alzheimer’s Association found. The U.S. is projected to spend $277 billion on Alzheimer’s or other dementia care in 2018 alone, with an aging cohort of baby boomers pushing that number to $1.1 trillion by 2050. … However, significant cost savings can be achieved, according to the new report, by the simple act of early diagnosis. Currently, individuals are typically diagnosed in the dementia stage, rather than when they have developed only mild cognitive impairment [MCI]. Identifying the disease early can allow it to be better managed, in part with existing drugs that treat its symptoms. In doing so, the study postulates, America could save $7.9 trillion over the lifetimes of everyone alive right now.”
LTC Comment (from Stephen A. Moses, President Center for Long-Term Care Reform): Earlier diagnosis may reduce initial hospitalizations saving payers such as Medicare and Medicaid money, but it will get families involved sooner as caregivers thus increasing their time and money costs. Good too perhaps, but a cost shifter not reducer and all the more reason for families to plan early and responsibly for LTC risk and costs.