Finding out my kidneys were failing was shocking. During a surgery to remove a portion of one kidney affected by cancer, things took an unexpected turn. Rather than losing a small portion of function in one kidney, I was left with one kidney only functioning at 20 percent.

Thanks to an excellent nephrologist, though, I was able to put off starting dialysis for a decade. Since then, two things that have helped a great deal are the flexibility of my home treatments and the access I’ve had to coverage for dialysis. While I received coverage for the portion of treatment Medicare didn’t pay for through work for two years, living in New York means I’ve been able to get Medigap coverage even after I had to stop working.

Meeting patients from other states has shown me it’s very different across the country. For patients under 65, getting Medigap plans to cover what Medicare won’t is extremely difficult, and paying those costs out-of-pocket is just too much. Dialysis patients don’t have a choice, though – they need treatment to stay alive. The Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act would change that and make those plans more easily available for patients nationwide.

New York is a leader in ensuring dialysis patients can access Medigap coverage. Now lawmakers have a chance now to get this done nationally, and I hope Rep. Elise Stefanik joins other New York legislators in helping to pass this bill.

Keith Plummer, Saratoga Springs, New York

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