Medicare: Cover Long-Term Care for Alzheimer's Patients

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Sponsor: The Alzheimer's Site

Long-term care is vital for Alzheimer's patients. Demand Medicare covers it.


Since 1966, Medicare has provided insurance for Americans 65 and older. For many, this national insurance program is a key component of being able to afford retirement.

Medicare covers many things, like end-of-life hospice and in-home recovery services after a hospital visit, but there's a glaring and terrible gap for our elderly that must be addressed: coverage for long-term care for Alzheimer's patients.

Alzheimer's care costs are on the rise, and the prevalence of the disease only continues to increase. According to the Alzheimer's Association, "by 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease may nearly triple, from 5.1 million to a projected 13.8 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure the disease. "

With Congress unwilling to fund Alzheimer's research and Medicare offering no assistance for the long-term care of people with this tragic disease, their care often falls to family members and loved ones. In 2014, the Alzheimer's Associate estimated that 15.7 million family members and friends provided 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's and other dementias, at an economic value of over $217 billion.

That's a huge burden on the families and friends of people living with Alzheimer's.

We need to do something about it. Medicare is intended to help our elderly get the healthcare they need. Someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's has a real, continuous, medical need for care. Tell Medicare to step up and cover 100% of long term care for any person with Alzheimer's or other dementias whose doctor has recommended long-term care.

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The Petition:

Dear Marilyn Tavenner,

As the head of Medicare, I'm writing today to implore you to take the steps necessary to ensure proper care is provided to our elders diagnosed with Alzheimer's and other dementias.

As Alzheimer's progresses, people often lose the ability to care for themselves. As such, long-term care is necessary to keep Alzheimer's patients safe and healthy. Unfortunately, because long-term care is currently not covered under Medicare, the friends and family of those impacted by this terrible disease are often called to take up the burden of care. Just last year alone, the Alzheimer's Associate estimated that 15.7 million family members and friends provided 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's and other dementias, at an economic value of over $217 billion. These numbers prove that there is absolutely a need for government support in caring for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Families and friends of those with Alzheimer's disease are being worked beyond their limits in trying to care for them alone.

Alzheimer's is not going away any time soon. Congress has yet to commit to funding Alzheimer's research on a scale that could result in prevention or cures for the disease. The Alzheimer's Association believes that, "by 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease may nearly triple, from 5.1 million to a projected 13.8 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure the disease."

Medicare needs to step up to fill a huge hole in its coverage for America's seniors by covering 100% of long term care for any person with Alzheimer's or other dementias whose doctor has recommended long-term care.

Ms. Tavenner, please use your position to advocate for America’s Alzheimer's patients, their families, and loved ones. Long-term care is a necessity for anyone with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Make sure Medicare helps them get the care they need.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: