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Forum for Health Economics & Policy

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The Value of Delaying Alzheimer’s Disease Onset

Julie Zissimopoulos
  • Corresponding author
  • Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California, 635 Downey Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089-3331, USA
  • Email:
/ Eileen Crimmins
  • Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, 3715 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles, CA, USA
/ Patricia St.Clair
  • Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California, 635 Downey Way, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Published Online: 2014-11-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/fhep-2014-0013

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) extracts a heavy societal toll. The value of medical advances that delay onset of AD could be significant. Using data from nationally representative samples from the Health and Retirement Study (1998–2008) and Aging Demographics and Memory Study (2001–2009), we estimate the prevalence and incidence of AD and the formal and informal health care costs associated with it. We use microsimulation to project future prevalence and costs of AD under different treatment scenarios. We find from 2010 to 2050, the number of individuals ages 70+ with AD increases 153%, from 3.6 to 9.1 million, and annual costs increase from $307 billion ($181B formal, $126B informal costs) to $1.5 trillion. 2010 annual per person costs were $71,303 and double by 2050. Medicare and Medicaid are paying 75% of formal costs. Medical advances that delay onset of AD for 5 years result in 41% lower prevalence and 40% lower cost of AD in 2050. For one cohort of older individuals, who would go on to acquire AD, a 5-year delay leads to 2.7 additional life years (about 5 AD-free), slightly higher formal care costs due to longer life but lower informal care costs for a total value of $511,208 per person. We find Medical advances delaying onset of AD generate significant economic and longevity benefits. The findings inform clinicians, policymakers, businesses and the public about the value of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of AD.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Medicare; medical expenditures; medical innovation

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About the article

Corresponding author: Julie Zissimopoulos, PhD, Assistant Professor, Sol Price School of Public Policy and Associate Director, Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California, 635 Downey Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089-3331, USA, Phone: +213-821-7947, Fax: +213-740-3460, e-mail: .


Published Online: 2014-11-04

Published in Print: 2015-01-01



Citation Information: Forum for Health Economics and Policy, ISSN (Online) 1558-9544, ISSN (Print) 2194-6191, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/fhep-2014-0013. Export Citation

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