Federal Alzheimer’s disease policymakers aren’t giving much thought to the idea that private long-term care insurance (LTCI) providers could play a role in helping consumers cope with the condition.
The authors of the new draft National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease mention the role of private LTCI coverage only in passing.
The National Alzheimer’s Project Act of 2011 (NAPA) requires U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to work with a new Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services to create a national plan for overcoming Alzheimer’s disease.
Sebelius also is supposed to coordinate Alzheimer’s disease research and services across all federal agencies and accelerate the development of treatments that would prevent, halt, or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease.
National plan drafters note that they are using the term “Alzheimer’s disease” to refer to a wide range of what are now thought of as being irreversible brain orders, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementias associated with frontotemporal problems, vascular problems or Lewy bodies.
The dementia-causing conditions included in the term “Alzheimer’s disease” affect a total of about 5.1 million U.S. residents, and the number affected seems likely to increase as the average age of the U.S. population increases, the drafters say.
The drafters note that dementia-causing conditions place a terrible strain on family caregivers and others who provide home care, and that about half of nursing home residents have dementia. They estimate providing nursing home care for a resident with dementia costs an average of about $78,000 per year.
The Obama administration recently announced the National Institutes of Health will increase funding for Alzheimer’s research by $50 million. The administration’s 2013 budget proposal calls for providing another $80 million for Alzheimer’s research.
The “National Plan” project associated with the draft plan is supposed to get $26 million for consumer Alzheimer’s disease education, provider education, caregiver support programs, and Alzheimer’s disease data collection efforts.
The draft National Plan lists actions the federal government can take immediately, actions the government and private partners can take soon; and long-range efforts.
“This is a National Plan and not a federal plan,” the plan drafters note. “It will require the active engagement of public and private sector stakeholders to achieve.”