Lawmakers should weigh costs associated with dementia when coordinating care for Medicare beneficiaries, analysis suggests

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As policymakers seek to integrate care for dual eligibles, they need to consider the cost of treating beneficiaries with dementia, new data suggests.

Individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid have a higher prevalence of dementia than Medicare-only beneficiaries, according to a data brief conducted by Avalere Health and published by the SCAN Foundation. As of 2009, 13% of dual eligibles over 65 were diagnosed with dementia, compared with just 4% of Medicare-only enrollees.

According to the analysis, a significant number of people with Alzheimer's do not have a formal diagnosis in their medical records, which led researchers to believe their rates reflected in the data are conservative.

Per-capita Medicare spending on individuals with dementia is $22,236, compared with $4,739 per capita on beneficiaries without dementia.

Click here to read the brief on dementia among dual eligibles, and here to read the brief about Medicare spending on dementia.