Dear Editor,
When I served as my grandfather’s caregiver during his dialysis treatments, the most frustrating challenge was the difficulty we faced dealing with Medicare. Slow payments and limited access to services were all too common for us, but thankfully we had access to supplemental insurance that helped cover costs.

For many dialysis patients, private insurance plays an important role in providing access to care, either as supplemental insurance like my grandfather had, or as a patient’s primary insurer in the early days of treatment. For years, patients were able to remain fully covered by private health insurance for 30 months after starting dialysis to help ease the transition and cover initial costs, after which point they would transition to Medicare. However, a Supreme Court decision last year could allow insurance companies to with-hold coverage of certain dialysis-related treatments or tests in that 30-month window, which would push patients to switch to Medicare right away.

This is a problem because Medicare only covers 80% of dialysis treatments, and not every state grants patients access to affordable supplemental plants. After this ruling, many patients may be stuck paying exorbitant out-of-pocket costs while they adjust to starting dialysis.

Congress must ensure that dialysis patients can keep their private insurance coverage for the full 30 months regardless of their needs. They can pass legislation which would allow patients to afford their life saving treatments. I hope that all members of Congress give a full-throated endorsement of this cause.

Melissa Sanchez, Abilene, Kansas

This letter originally ran in the March 14, 2024 print edition of the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle