The history of a disease--the evolution of a brand
I am a careful observer and a storyteller. Professionally I am a health economics/medical writer and data analyst. I have been tempted to write about dementia, specifically Alzheimer's Disease for about a decade. Following the long goodbye that I experienced with my father's diagnosis I guess I was just numb or didn't know what I could add to the narrative.
I have been writing about health economics and quickly became aware of the inefficiencies in healthcare that are driving our costs and straining already limited resources.
The story I want to tell is the evolution of dementia from pre-alzheimer's diagnosis to a multibillion dollar healthcare juggernaut.
Costs of Care
In 2015, the costs to all payers for the care of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will total an estimated $226 billion, with Medicare and Medicaid paying 68 percent of the costs. Based on the current trajectory, costs are projected to increase to over $1.1 trillion in 2050, with Medicare and Medicaid costs increasing to nearly 70 percent of the total. The Figure illustrates these costs paid by Medicare, Medicaid, affected individuals and their families, and other payers such as private insurance, HMOs and other managed care organizations, and those that cover uncompensated care.
Nearly one in five Medicare dollars — or 18 percent— will be spent on people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in 2015. Medicare costs will increase over 420 percent, from $113 billion in 2015 to $589 billion in 2050. This is projected to represent nearly one in three Medicare dollars. Medicaid costs will increase about 330 percent from $41 billion in 2015 to $176 billion in 2050. Similarly, out-of-pocket costs for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias will increase about 350 percent from $44 billion in 2015 to $198 billion in 2050. Costs to other payers will increase about 375 percent from $29 billion in 2015 to $138 billion in 2050.
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