Statement from (Ms.) LaVarne A. Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund
ROCKVILLE, Md. (January 29, 2019) — We are disappointed to see another bill in California that singles out low-income, mostly minority dialysis patients to be targeted for discriminatory health insurance practices. We are reviewing the bill.
More than three-quarters of dialysis patients become unable to work, losing their livelihood at the same time their medical expenses skyrocket. For over two decades, some have turned to AKF's federally approved premium assistance program for help staying insured. Nearly two-thirds of the grant assistance AKF provides nationally is not for private plans, but for Medicare Part B, Medigap and Medicare Advantage premiums. California excludes end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients under 65 from having access to Medigap plans that cover Medicare's 20 percent coinsurance, leading some younger California ESRD patients to remain in their private plans rather than enrolling in Medicare. AKF doesn't guide or steer patients into coverage; instead, patients are already insured when they apply to us for assistance. We are proud of this longstanding program that helps people who have nowhere else to turn and operates in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Our concern is, and has always been, that low-income dialysis patients continue to have access to the health care they need to stay alive. Charitable premium assistance from AKF is what makes that possible.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.