An oncoming “silver tsunami” could wreak havoc on the U.S. healthcare system

The Alzheimer’s disease death rate in the United States increased 55 percent from 1999–2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increase is likely due to an aging population, earlier diagnosis of the disease, increased reporting by those who record the cause of death, and fewer deaths from other illnesses that normally affect the elderly, such as heart disease and stroke (CDC press release, May 25, 2017).

The Alzheimer’s death rate will likely continue to increase before it begins to dip. It all comes down to the numbers. The disease is the fifth-leading cause of death among people aged 65 years and older in the United States, according to the CDC. And this population is increasing drastically. Baby boomers—those born from 1946 and 1964—are aging into Medicare at the rate of approximately 10,000 people a day, which will continue until 2029. There are 75.4 million baby boomers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While nursing home care is limited for Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s, most deaths resulting from the disease occur in a nursing home or long-term care facility. However, this decreased over the 15-year span, dropping from 68 percent in 1999 to 54 percent in 2014 (CDC press release, May 25, 2017). These deaths were most likely advanced cases that required a hospitalization.

This “silver tsunami” has major ramifications for the healthcare industry, which is not prepared to deal with the sheer volume of patients who may eventually need long-term care. For Alzheimer’s patients aged 65 and older, Medicare covers inpatient hospital care and some physician fees and other items. Nursing home care is limited to 100 days and must occur after a hospitalization, but long-term nursing home care or long-term in-home care are not covered. In addition, Medicare pays for up to 35 hours per week for in-home healthcare for homebound individuals.

Family members are the main caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients, which will present even more challenges. Caregivers often have to drop out of the work force in order to provide care, and they face healthcare issues of their own that are caused by the stress of caregiving.

There are no easy solutions, but the situation cannot go ignored. As a demographic group, baby boomers have often been ridiculed as being self-absorbed, for taking more than they give. But their voices are heard. The need for Alzheimer’s care in the coming years will bring about necessary changes in healthcare. Baby boomers and their caregivers will be the ones leading the charge.

Joyce Caruthers is a Senior Analyst for Decision Resources Group. Follow her on Twitter @JCaruthersDRG.

To hear more on the evolving healthcare environment, attend our upcoming Webinar on June 27, titled “The Politics of U.S. Healthcare – Exchanges in the Trump Era.” Registration is available here (http://ift.tt/2od2kF2).

About Health Plan Analysis

DRG’s Health Plan Analysis explores pharmacy benefit, provider contracting, and product trends through actionable industry insight and key enrollment data across the United States, including Commercial, Exchanges, Medicare, and Medicaid markets. Find out more: Health Plan Analysis.

About Managed Markets Surveyor

DRG’s Managed Market Surveyor delivers benefit enrollment data by managed care organization and at multiple geographic levels to better inform strategic planning and resource allocation. Find out more: MMS and MMS-Rx.

About Market Overview

DRG’s Market Overview reports provide expert analysis of key healthcare players and market drivers in the 87 most dynamic US metro areas. Find out more: Market Overviews.

The post An oncoming “silver tsunami” could wreak havoc on the U.S. healthcare system appeared first on DRG.

An oncoming “silver tsunami” could wreak havoc on the U.S. healthcare system published first on http://ift.tt/2rKD0bD

Advertisements

Author: wmcerda

I am the founder and medical director of Drug Test Exit since 2003. A former physician in drug test, I am known as the "Pioneer of Drug Test Care" with expertise in travel medicine, sports medicine, and diving medicine. I have provided drug test services in many sports events, competitions, and championships and have handled large corporate events throughout the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and around the world. Served as an Olympic drug text specialist for 8 years, I am also the medical doctor for many leading sports channel and takes care of many high profile athletes. getpocket

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s