American Kidney Fund Statement on California AB 290


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

As the nation’s leading independent nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. AKF holds the highest ratings from the nation’s charity watchdog groups, including Charity Navigator, which includes AKF on its “top 10” list of nonprofits with the longest track records of outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar, and GuideStar, which has awarded AKF its Platinum Seal of Transparency.

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