About the Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP)
In 2021, AKF provided HIPP grants to nearly 71,000 patients nationwide, ensuring these individuals can maintain their health insurance coverage and receive the medical care they need. This program ensures access to life-saving medical care for low-income individuals, the majority of whom identify as members of racial and ethnic minority groups. HIPP helps address health equity challenges facing individuals from communities of color and low-income households.
Who is eligible for HIPP?
HIPP provides grants for people who cannot afford their monthly insurance premiums.
If you want to apply for HIPP assistance, you should know that we determine your eligibility based on our financial need criteria:
- You must live in and receive dialysis treatment for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the U.S. or its territories.
- You must have carefully reviewed, selected and received health insurance coverage, and met the eligibility requirements for coverage of the plan you have chosen.
- You must also carefully review all available assistance for paying insurance premiums (Medicaid, state & local assistance, charitable organization assistance) and determine if you are eligible for any financial assistance
- You must show that you cannot afford your health coverage. This determination will be based upon review of the following:
- your household income may not exceed of 500% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
- liquid assets (excluding retirement accounts) may not exceed $30,000
- Patients already enrolled in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), HUD housing assistance, or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) are automatically eligible
How does the program work?
HIPP grants provide the financial support to ensure each individual can pay their health insurance premiums. The HIPP grant provides the supplemental funds to pay for the health coverage you've already chosen.
Note: AKF does not help you choose or enroll in an insurance plan.
Which insurance programs are covered?
HIPP grants cover premiums for:
- Part B Medicare
- Medicare Advantage
- Medicaid (in states that charge premiums)
- Commercial plans (including public, private, and Marketplace plans)
- Employer group health plans (i.e. private health insurance offered through your job )
- COBRA plans
How do I apply?
The Grant Management System (GMS) is the online system for registering, applying to, and managing all financial grant requests. You can register online and complete your application at gms.kidneyfund.org.
AKF has a two-step application process:
- Step 1: Complete a patient profile online to determine if you qualify.
- Step 2: If your profile is deemed eligible by AKF, submit a grant request online through the GMS system.
Resources and support
Your social workers, renal professionals and caregivers can help you navigate the HIPP program application and help answer any questions.
Note: HIPP application support is limited exclusively to the program itself; there is no support or guidance on selecting an insurance plan. Patients independently select the best plan for their unique health and financial needs.
Where can I find more information?
For more detailed HIPP information and rules please review the HIPP guidelines available on AKF's Grants Management System (GMS).
Financial assistance for kidney transplant recipients
When an existing HIPP patient receives a transplant, AKF provides health insurance premium assistance to the patient through the end of the insurance coverage plan year.
Note: Persons eligible to receive post-transplant assistance must already have been receiving HIPP assistance for at least three (3) consecutive months prior to the time of their transplant.
Frequently asked questions
The HIPP application process
HIPP and your insurance
HIPP offers assistance with primary and secondary insurances (if available) Note: AKF will not assist with more than two types of insurance.
You remain the policyholder for your health insurance coverage, even if you receive HIPP grants. Although you receive HIPP assistance through grants from AKF, you are the policyholder for your health insurance. The contract is between you and the insurance company. You are responsible for understanding all of the terms of your contract and for making sure that your health insurance premium is paid on time.
HIPP and your treatment
When you receive grant assistance from AKF, it doesn't matter where you are treated. We will assist you whether or not your dialysis provider or transplant center makes charitable contributions to AKF, and you're free to change providers at any time. We do not help you choose a dialysis clinic or other health care providers.
Once you have assistance from HIPP, you'll be able to access all of the health care services offered covered by your insurance, including transplant workups and transplants allowed under your plan.
When an existing HIPP patient receives a transplant, we provide health insurance premium assistance to the patient through the end of the insurance coverage plan year. For example, a patient whose health plan year is on a calendar basis and who receives a transplant in May would be eligible to receive HIPP assistance through the end of December. If the transplant occurs in the final quarter of a plan/policy year and AKF has already begun paying premiums for the next plan/policy year, then AKF will continue grant assistance for the full new plan/policy year.
HIPP grants save lives
64% of HIPP grantees identify as people of color
100% of HIPP patients are considered low-income, with an average household income just over $25,000
The average annual out-of-pocket expenses for people with kidney failure is $10,000