Alzheimer's and Medicare spending to boom over next 25 years

Over the next 25 years, more than 28 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's disease, and the cost of care will consume nearly 25% of Medicare spending, according to an analysis from the Alzheimer's Association released Monday.

The association said that as more boomers develop the disease, more severe forms will develop, which will lead to greater Medicare costs. By 2020, caring for these patients will cost nearly $12 billion, and about 2.1% of total Medicare spending.

By 2040, however, the baby boomers will be ages 76 to 94, and the projected Medicare costs will have increased to $328 billion, consuming nearly 24.2% of total Medicare spending.

Association officials announced at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2015 in Washington that they are seeking more funding for Alzheimer's research due to the report's findings.

“However, public funding for this research is extremely limited compared to the magnitude of the problem. If we're going to change the current trajectory of the disease, we need consistent and meaningful investments in research from the federal government to ensure a more robust pipeline,” said the association's chief science officer, Maria Carrillo, at the conference.

In fact, the association released “Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer's Disease” in February, which stated a new treatment that could delay the onset of Alzheimer's by five years could save $220 billion within its first five years. It also would cut the number of people diagnosed by 42% by 2050, report authors predicted.