Alzheimer’s-Related Medi-Cal Expenses To Reach $4.9B by 2025
Medi-Cal costs associated with Alzheimer's disease care will increase by nearly 59% over the next decade, according to a report released by the Alzheimer's Association, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and while there are some medications that can treat its symptoms to an extent, there is no cure, according to the Chronicle.
More than five million U.S. residents have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, including 590,000 Californians. In addition, nearly half of individuals who reach age 85 in the next 10 years will develop the disease, according to the Chronicle.
Individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's can survive for up to 20 years with the disease.
Ruth Gay, public policy director for the Northern California and Northern Nevada chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, said, "I don't think we've really understood the magnitude of this disease. ... When we start to talk about the impact of the disease and the growing number of people aging into the age of risk, we're talking about some big numbers."
Details of Costs in Calif.
According to the report, Medicaid annual costs associated with Alzheimer's disease will rise by at least 50% by 2025 in 22 states, including California. In California, the report estimates that Medi-Cal spending on Alzheimer's will increase from $3.1 billion this year to $4.9 billion by 2025.
Christopher Perrone, director of the California HealthCare Foundation's Improving Access team, said the rising costs "may require trade-offs in terms of what we pay for," adding, "Fortunately, we haven't come to that point and it's not clear when we'll come to that point." Perrone said, "Those are tough choices lawmakers will have to make as the Baby Boomers age and spending on long-term care increases." CHCF publishes California Healthline (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.