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Medicare expenditures attributable to dementia

Objective: To estimate dementia's incremental cost to the traditional Medicare program.

Data Sources: Health and Retirement Study (HRS) surveylinked Medicare part A and B claims from 1991 to 2012.

Study Design: We compared Medicare expenditures for 60 months following a claimsbased dementia diagnosis to those for a randomly selected, matched comparison group.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: We used a cost estimator that accounts for differential survival between individuals with and without dementia and decomposes incremental costs into survival and cost intensity components.

Conclusions: Dementia's cost to the traditional Medicare program is significant. Interventions that target early identification of dementia and preventable inpatient and postacute care services could produce substantial savings.

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