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Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2019 Jun 6;5:197-207. doi: 10.1016/j.trci.2019.04.003. eCollection 2019.

Analysis of dementia in the US population using Medicare claims: Insights from linked survey and administrative claims data.

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Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



Medicare claims data may be a rich data source for tracking population dementia rates. Insufficient understanding of completeness of diagnosis, and for whom, limits their use.


We analyzed agreement in prevalent and incident dementia based on cognitive assessment from the Health and Retirement Study for persons with linked Medicare claims from 2000 to 2008 (N = 10,450 persons). Multinomial logistic regression identified sociodemographic factors associated with disagreement.


Survey-based cognitive tests and claims-based dementia diagnosis yielded equal prevalence estimates, yet only half were identified by both measures. Race and education were associated with disagreement. Eighty-five percent of respondents with incident dementia measured by cognitive decline received a diagnosis or died within the study period, with lower odds among blacks and Hispanics than among whites.


Claims data are valuable for tracking dementia in the US population and improve over time. Delayed diagnosis may underestimate rates within black and Hispanic populations.


Cognition; Diagnosis; Disparities; Incidence; Prevalence; Race/ethnicity

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