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Medicaid Contributes Substantial Costs to Dementia Care in an Ethnically Diverse Community

Zhu, Carolyn W.; Ornstein, Katherine A.; Cosentino, Stephanie; Gu, Yian; Andrews, Howard F.; Stern, Yaakov

Objectives: The main objective of this study was to estimate effects of dementia on Medicaid expenditures in an ethnically diverse community.

Methods: The sample included 1,211 Medicare beneficiaries who did not have any Medicaid coverage and 568 who additionally had full Medicaid coverage enrolled in the Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project (WHICAP), a multiethnic, population-based, prospective study of cognitive aging in northern Manhattan (1999–2010). Individuals’ dementia status was determined using a rigorous clinical protocol. Relationship between dementia and Medicaid coverage and expenditures were estimated using a two-part model.

Results: In participants who had full Medicaid coverage, average annual Medicaid expenditures were substantially higher for those with dementia than those without dementia ($50,270 vs. $21,966, p < .001), but Medicare expenditures did not differ by dementia status ($8,458 vs. $9,324, p = .19). In participants who did not have any Medicaid coverage, average annual Medicare expenditures were substantially higher for those with dementia than those without dementia ($12,408 vs. $8,113, p = .02). In adjusted models, dementia was associated with a $6,278 increase in annual Medicaid spending per person after controlling for other characteristics.

Discussion: Results highlight Medicaid’s contribution to covering the cost of dementia care in addition to Medicare. Studies that do not include Medicaid are unlikely to accurately reflect the true cost of dementia.

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Title
The Journals of Gerontology: Series B
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz108

More About This Work

Academic Units
Neurology
Published Here
May 4, 2021