Immunosuppressive drugs prevent transplanted organs from being rejected. Medicare currently provides 36 months of coverage for immunosuppressive drugs for non-disabled kidney transplant patients under the age of 65. Patients who stop taking immunosuppressive drugs because they can’t afford them face the loss of their transplanted kidney, necessitating a return to dialysis. Providing extended coverage for these medications would result in better health outcomes for patients, as well as substantial cost savings to Medicare because fewer transplant patients would need to resume dialysis. Recent HHS analyses found potential cost savings of up to $300 million over 10 years if Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs were extended beyond 36 months.
AKF supports the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2019, which would extend Medicare immunosuppressive drug coverage for kidney transplant patients beyond 36 months. Kidney transplant patients under age 65 would be eligible to remain in the Medicare program solely for the purpose of receiving these critical medications, and only if the transplant recipient lacks private or other public coverage for these drugs.