WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 1, 2022) — Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) today released the following statement applauding the introduction of H.R. 8594 by Representatives Yvette Clarke (D-NY-9), Buddy Carter (R-GA-1), Jodey Arrington, (R-TX-19), and Danny Davis (D-IL-7) to prohibit discrimination against dialysis patients in insurance coverage.
“We thank Representatives Clarke, Carter, Arrington, and Davis for introducing this essential piece of legislation that will protect dialysis patients from facing unjust discrimination in their health coverage,” said DPC Board President Andrew Conkling. “Dialysis patients have a right to continue on employer-provided plans for 30 months after being diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), a fact that Congress recognized long ago but which was unfortunately put at risk by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Marietta Memorial Hospital v. Davita. Passing this bill will help to preserve patient choice, encourage insurers to detect and treat kidney disease, and most importantly protect a group of patients which already faces considerable disparities in healthcare.”
Current law allows ESRD patients to remain on employer-sponsored health coverage for 30 months following their diagnosis. However, in Marietta Memorial Hospital v. Davita, the Supreme Court ruled employers and insurers can impose low rates for dialysis or use other benefit limitations to encourage patients to drop coverage and switch to Medicare before the expiration of this period.
This upended an interpretation of existing law which had stood for 40 years, wherein employers understood existing rules as prohibiting limitations specific to dialysis treatments. Employer-sponsored plans hold enormous importance for patients and their families, often offering important benefits not otherwise covered by Medicare.
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