Parkinson's Foundation Announces State Level Prevalence Medicare Costs of Parkinson's Disease - Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Associated with Greater Spending

NEW YORK & MIAMI (January 24, 2019) — A Parkinson’s Foundation study recently published in the scientific journal, npj Parkinson’s Disease, found that a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) was associated with greater healthcare use and spending.

“This state-level analysis will help inform policymakers on the societal costs of PD and target areas where PD patients may have more needs,” said James Beck, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at the Parkinson’s Foundation. “We must realign our national priorities to support increased funding for research and care for people living with PD.”

The study examined state-level variations in PD prevalence, patient characteristics, Medicare spending, out-of-pocket costs, and health service utilization, using data on 27.5 million Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S. in 2014. Nationally, 45.8% of individuals diagnosed with PD in the Medicare dataset were women, and 26.1% were aged 85 and above. The District of Columbia, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and Florida had the highest prevalence of PD among Medicare beneficiaries in the US.

“Although women diagnosed with PD are a sizable portion of the patient population, they are highly underrepresented in PD research and clinical trials,” said Allison W. Willis, MD, MS, an assistant professor of Neurology and Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, and senior author of the paper. “Improving PD outcomes will require increased attention to women who have less access to specialized care.”

In 2014, Medicare paid approximately $7.9 billion for health care services delivered to people with PD. The costliest services were inpatient care, skilled nursing facility care, hospital outpatient care, and home health. For all health care services, Medicare and out-of-pocket spending was significantly higher for beneficiaries with PD than without PD.  

Added John L. Lehr, CEO of the Parkinson’s Foundation: “Due to the aging of the population, PD is on the rise in the U.S. This study highlights the growing importance of optimizing care and treatment for people with the disease today.”

The regions with the highest prevalence of PD are not consistent with the regions of highest spending; however, state costs will continue to rise as PD prevalence in the U.S. increases. The Parkinson’s Foundation Parkinson’s Prevalence Project estimates that 1.2 million people will be living with PD by 2030. Further research to understand the economic burden of PD is needed to inform future health care policy and the state and federal level.  

To learn more about the Parkinson’s Foundation Prevalence Project, visit


About the Parkinson’s Foundation
The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience and passion of our global Parkinson’s community. Since 1957, the Parkinson’s Foundation has invested more than $400 million in Parkinson’s research and clinical care. Connect with us on Parkinson.orgFacebookTwitterInstagram or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636).

About Parkinson’s Disease
Affecting an estimated one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the U.S. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone.

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