Supplemental Information for Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, was first described roughly one hundred years ago in Bavaria by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in his presentation of an early-onset (<60 years) case. AD is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease that impairs memory and overall cognition. There are more than 5 million documented patients according to best estimates, with some experts suggesting that may be only 20% of the total number actually affected. The number of new cases grows by more than 10% per year. Alzheimer’s disease is the seventh leading cause of death for people of all ages, the fifth leading cause of death in people age 65 and older, and is the only one of the major diseases (heart disease, breast and prostate cancer and stroke) to be increasing in mortality; up almost 33% from 2002 to 2004. Medicare expenditures for Alzheimer’s and other dementias in 2005 were $91 billion; this total is projected to increase to $160 billion by 2010. State and federal Medicaid spending for nursing home care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias was estimated at $21 billion in 2005, and is projected to increase to $24 billion by 2010. Given these estimates and no significant containment or decrease in Alzheimer’s, Medicaid and Medicare expenses for Alzheimer’s and related dementias will be approximately $184 billion by 2010, or approximately 27% of the entire combined anticipated expenditure for Medicare and Medicaid in 2010.