Skip to main content

Early-Onset Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Affecting Younger Americans

May 21, 2020

To: All Providers

While dementia is often associated with seniors, a growing number of adults between the ages of 30 and 65 are suffering from the disease. In fact, the average age of someone living with early-onset dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is 49 years old, and women are more affected than men.

This is the conclusion of a recent collaborative study by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and Blue Health Intelligence (BHI) as part of The Health of America Report® series.* 

The study also showed that diagnosis rates increased 200% from 2013 to 2017. In 2017, early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease together affected 131,000 commercially insured Americans between the ages of 30 and 64.

As there is no definitive test for early-onset dementia, diagnosis is based primarily on symptoms. Yet many often undergo different forms of testing and treatment before diagnosis. 

In the year prior to diagnosis, 86% had received brain imaging, 57% had filled a prescription for an antidepressant, and about 40% who were ultimately diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease had previously been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, or cognitive or behavioral changes.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and form of dementia characterized by progressive brain deterioration, memory loss and increasing inability to perform everyday activities. According to the study, these health conditions are more common in women (58%), and those diagnosed at an early age will likely need support from a caregiver as they grow older and their condition progresses.

For help diagnosing and supporting patients with early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease visit:

Recent Articles

  • Individual Provider Recontracting Initiative
    We will be amending and restating our existing contracts. Starting next month, all directly contracted individual providers will be sent an updated contract. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) requires that each provider sign and return their amended/restated contract.
  • New Digital Provider and Facility Reference Manual
    We’ve upgraded our Provider and Facility Reference Manual, which is now available in digital format. The new manual offers a better, more interactive user experience. Here, we highlight some of the new features.
  • Updates to Screening for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in Adults
    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is reportedly the most common blood infection in the country. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has updated the recommendation for HCV screening in March 2020 to now include all adults ages 18 to 79 without known liver disease, regardless of their risk for infection.
  • Update to Spine Preauthorization Process
    To help streamline the preauthorization process for spine procedures and injections, all these requests will be submitted directly to our Utilization Management Department beginning October 1, 2020. We will no longer require any requests to be submitted through Palladian Health.
  • Care at Home Expanded for Medicare Advantage Patients
    Beginning on July 7, more Medicare Advantage patients will be eligible to enroll in a new extension of the Care at Home program -- Care at Home℠ On Call -- which offers some urgent care in-home services. Care at Home On Call will be offered to newly enrolled Medicare Advantage members.

Working with Us

Additional Resources

We want to hear from you! Have a topic request for the next Blue Bulletin? Email us

Stay in Touch! Sign up to receive emails for provider news and information