Kidney failure devastates people physically, emotionally and financially. ESRD cannot be cured, and without dialysis or a kidney transplant, it is fatal. The vast majority of dialysis patients are unable to work. When a family loses a breadwinner, or when individuals lose their income, it can be catastrophic financially. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average ESRD patient on Medicare faces annual out-of-pocket expenses of more than $7,000, not including health insurance premiums.
For nearly 50 years, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) has been the safety net for low-income dialysis patients living with kidney failure, helping them afford access to the health care that keeps them alive. One of our programs, the Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP), makes sure that low-income dialysis and transplant patients can afford their health insurance, providing long-term assistance that includes assistance for the full insurance plan year post-transplant. It’s an essential part of a longstanding public-private partnership that provides for the significant health care needs that go together with kidney failure—dialysis, specialists to treat accompanying medical conditions, medications and, for those healthy enough and fortunate enough, kidney transplant.