During recent discussions on drug pricing legislation, House leadership decided to use some of the potential savings to pay for some of our priorities. One such provision would provide all dialysis patients with access to Medigap—a supplemental insurance plan which helps patients pay for the expenses not covered by Medicare. This priority was originally included in the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act (S. 1676/ H.R. 3912) or “Kidney Bill.”
Under Federal law, Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older are guaranteed access to Medigap policies, but beneficiaries under age 65, including many with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), do not share this protection. ESRD patients require either dialysis or kidney transplants to survive. Both of these treatments are costly, and without supplemental coverage, Medicare patients bear significant out-of-pocket expenses including 20% coinsurance with no out-of-pocket maximum.
Congress is also considering adding dental, vision, and hearing coverage to the current Medicare benefit. We applaud Congress for continuing to look for ways to improve care and access for all patients. Please contact your Senators and Representative asking them to cosponsor the “Kidney Bill.”