Why putting the patient at the center of the discussion is essential
Health insurance is the gateway to medical care, critical for people with ESRD who will die without ongoing dialysis treatment or a transplant.
ESRD patients not only need access to dialysis, but they typically suffer from other conditions that require medical attention such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular challenges, as well as many complications of kidney failure.
Medicare alone covers only 80 percent of the expenses associated with dialysis, leaving the patient liable for the balance. Medigap is essential, and close to 50 percent of our HIPP grants are for Medigap, but Medigap is not available in every state to ESRD patients younger than 65.
Meanwhile, the physical and time demands of dialysis mean that patients often cannot work—the vast majority of our grantees find it difficult to continue working while on dialysis and 70 percent have been forced to stop working because of their disease.
Poverty is a byproduct of this condition—60 percent of the patients we help have annual incomes under $20,000 while facing out-of-pocket costs each year of $7,000 after paying premiums.
The ultimate therapeutic benefit many dialysis patients hope and strive for is a kidney transplant, but the fact is that the patients who have insurance are much more likely to receive a kidney transplant.
The reality is, many people will have to spend years on dialysis while waiting for a transplant.
Many will never be able to have a transplant for health reasons or the shortage of available organs.
Our assistance allows patients to access complete health care services offered under their plan, including transplant workups and transplants.
There are currently 79,000 dialysis patients in the U.S. who rely on the HIPP program for insurance support.
We help people with all types of health insurance: Medicare Part B, Medigap, commercial, COBRA, and employer group health.
It is important to note that not only does ESRD have an enormous financial impact on patients generally, but also disproportionately impacts certain populations that have been historically underserved. For example, African-Americans and Hispanics are at a higher risk for the conditions that cause ESRD, and are disproportionally affected by the limits of access to health insurance. Over half of the people who receive help under our program are people of color.