You urgent action is needed this weekend!
Needed reforms to Medicare coverage for dialysis patients like those in the Kidney Care Quality and Education Act are in danger of not passing because some Members of Congress and Insurance companies are working to fight the extension of the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP). End Stage Renal Disease is unique in the Medicare Program in that it provides coverage to ESRD patients, regardless of age. In addition for those with private coverage, Medicare steps in after a 30-month period. In today’s legislative environment every piece of legislation must be paid for. The MSP extension from 30 months to 42 months generates a modest savings in the Medicare program that can be used to implement many of the provisions in the KCQEA that would benefit kidney patients. An extension also allows those who wish to maintain their private insurance as their primary coverage longer the ability to do so for an extra 12 months.
For some of you, your private insurance may provide better coverage–lower premiums or expanded coverage. With your private insurance and with the MSP extension you could avoid paying both Medicare premiums and your private insurance premiums longer.
For others who prefer to opt into Medicare right away the MSP extension is also important because it will help Medicare save money on ESRD coverage and that savings could then be available to use for education and awareness that is needed to help prevent or delay the onset of dialysis for other people who are at risk of kidney failure. The savings could also help ensure better access and quality of care for current dialysis patients.
Your voice needs to be heard!
Here is the letter I recently sent:
[LEFT][FONT=Times-Roman, serif]October 20, 2007
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Dingell and Senator Barton,
As an ESRD patient, I should have the right to stay with my private insurance instead of
being forced onto Medicare after a set timeframe. This can allow me to maintain the
same insurance as my family and reduces the need for me to pay double premiums (both
Medicare and private). Currently, ESRD is the only disease area within Medicare where
private insurance can limit coverage.
As steps are being taken to strengthen kidney care in the United States, we must ensure
that it is kidney patients who are benefiting. One of the most important steps is to
provide those individuals at risk of kidney failure with education about the factors
associated with kidney disease in the hopes of preventing them from reaching kidney
failure. In addition, when patients reach CKD IV, they should receive educational
sessions designed to help them remain healthier and possibly delay the need for dialysis.
Both of these measures would save Medicare and private insurance tremendous amounts
of money in the long run by preventing or delaying individuals from reaching ESRD and
teaching others to better manage the disease and reduce costly emergency room visits.
Additionally, dialysis reimbursement reform is important for current dialysis patients’
care, like me. For patients, updated reimbursement at a minimum means better access to
dialysis centers in both rural and urban areas that provide the best quality of care.
As an ESRD patient, I rely on dialysis to live. I am very thankful that Congress had the
foresight to have Medicare cover the high cost of dialysis. This has benefited many
patients particularly those without adequate insurance coverage and those who are unable
to maintain their private insurance after kidney failure. Without this assistance, the
majority of ESRD patients would not receive this lifesaving treatment. I am looking
forward to many meaningful changes within Medicare to help increase the quality of care
and education available. However we must ensure that there is an appropriate level of
choice still provided to patients and their family members.
pc: Representative Mike Rogers[/LEFT]