Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders and Out-of-Pocket Health Care Spending and Burden Among Elderly Medicare Beneficiaries

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To estimate the excess burden of out-of-pocket health care spending associated with Alzheimer disease and related disorders (ADRD) among older individuals (age 65 y and older).


We adopted a retrospective, cross-sectional study design with data from 2012 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. The study sample comprised of elderly community-dwelling individuals who had positive total health care expenditures, and enrolled in Medicare throughout the calendar year (462 with ADRD, and 7160 without ADRD). We estimated the per-capita total annual out-of-pocket spending on health care and out-of-pocket spending by service type: inpatient, outpatient, home health, prescription drugs, and other services. We measured out-of-pocket spending burden by calculating the percentage of income spent on health care and defined high out-of-pocket spending burden as having this percentage above 10%. Multivariable analyses included ordinary least squares regressions and logistic regressions and these analyses adjusted for predisposing, enabling, need, personal health care practices and external environment characteristics.


The average annual per-capita out-of-pocket health care spending was greater among individuals with ADRD compared with those without ADRD ($3285 vs. $1895); home health and prescription drugs accounted for 52% of total out-of-pocket spending among individuals with ADRD and 34% among individuals without ADRD. Elderly individuals with ADRD were more likely to have high out-of-pocket spending burden (adjusted odds ratio, 1.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.13–1.97) compared with those without ADRD.


ADRD is associated with excess out-of-pocket health care spending, primarily driven by prescription drugs and home health care use.

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