Paying for Health Insurance
The cost of providing treatment for kidney failure is high, which makes it very important to keep any health plan you have. Once you have kidney failure, it can be hard to get a new health plan, so don’t let your health plan stop by not paying your premiums. Your healthcare providers will bill you, instead. If you have questions or problem arise regarding your health insurance, there is help—talk with your social worker or financial coordinator.
Medicare will cover kidney disease regardless of whether you are disabled or under the age of 65. If you choose in-center hemodialysis (standard or nocturnal), you can sign up for Medicare and it will start on the first day of your third full month of treatment. This means you or your other health plan will be billed for your first three months of dialysis. If you choose home dialysis, Medicare starts the first day of the month you start treatment. Medicare only covers 80% of your dialysis costs, so it’s important to have other health insurance to cover the 20% balance.
Your state may help pay your Medicare or premiums if you have low income and few assets or you’re working with a disability. Fresenius Medical Care and other dialysis providers help support the American Kidney Fund Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP), a program that helps patients with low income and resources pay for insurance premiums.
Your social worker or financial coordinator can provide information about the AKF’s Health Insurance Premium Program and other resources you may qualify for if you don’t have other health insurance, if you can’t pay your health insurance premiums, or if you can’t pay your dialysis bill.
Paying for Prescription Drugs
If you need to take prescription drugs to help control blood pressure, bind phosphorus in your food, and control other health problems, a health plan with drug coverage may pay for some or all of your drugs. If you don’t have good drug coverage, you can sign up for a Medicare drug plan (Medicare Part D) when you get Medicare. Medicare Part D offers many plans, covering different drugs, so you need to be sure to get one that will cover all of the drugs you need. You can read about Medicare Part D at www.kidneydrugcoverage.org. If you qualify for Medical Assistance, your prescription drugs may be covered. A few states have special programs for kidney patients that help pay the cost of prescriptions. Your social worker will know if you live in a state with this resource.