What better way to kick off National Kidney Month than by bringing together kidney patients, transplant recipients and living kidney donors? The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is hosting our annual patient summit March 2-3 in Washington, D.C. This powerful event allows individuals affected by kidney disease to speak directly to legislators and urge them to make kidney care a congressional priority. Attendees have the opportunity to meet with Members of Congress and their staff to share personal stories and advocate for policies that will raise awareness of kidney disease, increase research funding, improve treatment for kidney patients, and protect living organ donors. Continue reading
There are only 4 days left and counting to get health insurance through the Marketplace during open enrollment. If you are currently uninsured don’t miss out on this opportunity to get health insurance that will allow you to access health care services you need to protect your kidneys. Learn more about how you can get health insurance and how to be prepared to compare options.
If you currently have health insurance, but lose it after the enrollment period ends, you may qualify for a special enrollment period. You can learn more about eligibility for special enrollment periods at healthcare.gov.
NKF Advocate Gillian raising awareness on Capitol Hill
By Troy Zimmerman, Vice President of Government Relations and Tonya Saffer, Senior Health Policy Director
Last week, we blogged about our accomplishments in 2014. Now, we want to outline our commitment to advancing policies that improve kidney care and the lives of kidney patients throughout 2015 and the 114th Congress.
In line with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) 2013-2018 strategic plan and in conjunction with NKF’s national and local efforts to help all people at risk and with different stages of kidney disease, in 2015 we are committed to working to advance government policies as they pertain to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease. Continue reading
On December 16, 2014, President Obama signed into law H.R. 451, designating the Brevard Avenue Post Office in Cocoa Beach, Florida, as the “Richard K. Salick Post Office” to honor an individual whose tireless efforts improved the lives of kidney patients. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey (R, FL) who worked closely with Rich in the fight against kidney disease for many years.
By Troy Zimmerman, Vice President Government Relations, & Tonya Saffer, Senior Health Policy Director
Our Government Relations and Policy Team wishes you a Happy New Year and thanks you for your role in helping us achieve favorable policy milestones for kidney patients in 2014. Here are the top highlights of our efforts: Continue reading
Whether you enrolled in an Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance marketplace plan last year, you’re looking for coverage for the first time, or you’ll be looking for health insurance in the near future, it’s very important that you shop around–new plans are now available in the ACA marketplace that were not available before and a plan that you enrolled in last year may have made changes to the services and medications covered and how they are covered. Similarly, plans may have changed which healthcare practitioners are in their network. All of these changes could affect how much you pay for your care and if you will be able to continue seeing your current practitioners. You have until February 15th to enroll in coverage for next year, but only until today, December 15th if you want that coverage to begin on January 1st.
Trying to find the best insurance coverage that meets your healthcare needs and won’t break your wallet? This can be a daunting task. Therefore, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) offers basic tips to compare plans offered in the health insurance marketplaces to ensure you are receiving the healthcare services and medications you need to stay healthy. Our Kidney Health Insurance Worksheet is designed to empower you to identify which healthcare services and medications you need and to compare plans that offer coverage of those services at the lowest cost. This sheet will help you determine the real costs you will have to pay for your healthcare that go beyond your monthly premium price tag.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued rules for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans that required dialysis patients to get prior authorization for their medications. This resulted in delays as some dialysis patients had to wait for authorization before accessing medications to fight infections, nausea, pain, and anxiety among other ailments. This past Friday, after many conversations between CMS leadership, National Kidney Foundation staff, professional volunteers, and other organizations representing kidney professionals and patients, CMS reversed its guidance and is now encouraging Part D plans to change their policies so that patients no longer have delays getting certain medications.
A Bit of Background:
The Health Insurance Marketplace was created with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, making health insurance more accessible and affordable to individuals and small businesses. This law offers many patient protections, such as banning insurers from refusing to cover individuals with a pre-existing health condition or charging them significantly higher premiums, and stopping the practice of life-time and annual caps on health insurance benefits. The law requires every American to have health insurance or pay an additional tax if they do not enroll in a plan. Subsides to lower the cost of monthly premiums are available to individuals with incomes between 138% and 400% of federal poverty level (FPL). In states that did not expand their Medicaid programs, subsidies are offered for individuals with incomes starting at 100% of FPL. Subsidies to lower the amount people have to pay out-of-pocket for their healthcare services and medications may also be available depending on your income level and plan*.
On Friday, October 31, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued final regulations regarding payments to dialysis facilities and quality measures dialysis facilities must meet in 2017 and 2018 to avoid facing a penalty.