Protecting Low-Income Kidney Patients

By American Kidney Fund, Special for  USDR

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today commended the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for its decision to halt a controversial federal regulation that would have allowed health insurance companies to refuse coverage to low-income people with end-stage renal disease  (ESRD).

“On behalf of the patients we serve, the American Kidney Fund commends the Court for stepping in to protect ESRD patients from a regulation that would have caused them irrevocable harm,” said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and chief executive officer. “The regulation would have effectively ceded all decision-making to insurers, who are aggressively taking steps to bar dialysis patients from accessing their insurance  plans.”

The Court’s decision prevents the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from carrying out the regulation it proposed in December. AKF submitted a comprehensive declaration in support of a court challenge that was filed several weeks  ago.

“We look forward to working with the Trump Administration to develop clear, common-sense rules that will guarantee dialysis patients can choose the health coverage that is best for them—even if they need charitable assistance to afford it,” Burton  said.

Nearly half a million Americans are on dialysis as a result of ESRD, a devastating and life-changing disease that leaves them unable to cleanse their blood of toxins and requires a treatment regimen of dialysis three times a week to stay alive. Many of these men and women are low-income, unemployed, and members of racial and ethnic minorities, and this rule would have harmed the most vulnerable among  them.

AKF has been the safety net for low-income dialysis patients for 45 years, and has assisted patients in paying their health insurance premiums for 20 years under its federally approved Health Insurance Premium Program. AKF has provided premium assistance for Medicare and Medigap, as well as private commercial individual and group health care plans, since 1997, operating under guardrails provided by the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human  Services.

About the American Kidney  Fund

As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 31 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and  transplantation.

SOURCE American Kidney  Fund

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