“AKF allowed me to focus on my health and prioritize my new kidney. I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay for my insurance. They had my back when I needed it.”

— Alysia Yamasaki

“The American Kidney Fund was there for me when I needed them most and without them I would not have had the insurance that I needed to get my lifesaving transplant.”

—Bill Lawson

People of color bear a higher burden of kidney failure, and the treatment regimen for this life-threatening disease very often makes it impossible for patients to continue working. The American Kidney Fund (AKF) does what no other nonprofit does—we provide a long-term financial safety net for our nation’s dialysis and transplant patients, providing them access to the health care they need to survive. We believe that every kidney patient should have the ability to live their healthiest life, regardless of circumstances, and our program helps them do that. More than 60% of our grant recipients are people of color who face out of pocket costs upwards of $10,000 per year while having average household incomes of $25,000. AKF’s program is a lifeline for underserved communities.

Our impact in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic included:

  • Ensuring 74,500 low-income dialysis and transplant patients maintained health coverage—almost 70% of whom came to us for help paying their Medicare Part B and Medigap premiums. Fewer than 3,000 of the policies we funded nationwide were for ACA plans
  • Helping 1,615 people get off dialysis by having kidney transplants they otherwise could not have afforded—and we continued to help them for the year
  • Providing emergency grants to nearly 13,000 low-income dialysis and transplant patients who were experiencing major financial stress as a result of COVID-19
  • Spearheading Congressional advocacy efforts for the landmark lifetime immunosuppressive bill—signed into law in January, it will ensure that no patient loses a kidney due to inability to pay for anti-rejection drugs
  • Working to shorten the kidney transplant waiting list at the national and state levels by advancing living donor protection laws and issuing the AKF Living Donor Protection Report Card

How our program works

HIPP was established in 1997 under an advisory opinion from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This advisory opinion allows dialysis providers to make voluntary contributions to AKF and gives AKF sole determination of whether a patient qualifies for a grant—a decision based only on the patient’s financial need, not which health insurance they select, or who their provider is, or whether their provider contributes to AKF.

We consider only a patient’s financial need when determining whether the patient is eligible for assistance from the HIPP program. Applicants must complete a worksheet that documents that they have very low income and assets relative to expenditures. It doesn’t matter to us where our grant beneficiaries are treated, by whom, nor does it matter what kind of insurance they have. When a patient comes to us for assistance they already have an insurance policy. HIPP is there to help them pay for premiums that they would otherwise not be able to afford, and HIPP grants cover a patient’s full policy year. For further details, see our OIG Compliance Policy.

AKF has never turned away a patient in need who qualified financially.