Many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients realize that Medicare covers the cost of Kidney Transplants, but unfortunately limits payments for Immunosuppressant (Anti- Rejection) Medication, which helps to prevent a patient's immune system from attacking the new kidney, to only thirty-six (36) months. Now stories are arising highlighting the fact that this Medicare policy, which is widely regarded as pound-foolish, has been costing Chronic Kidney Disease patients' their Kidney Transplants - causing them to have to begin Dialysis and find themselves again on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List. Is it time for patients to take action?
All Kidney Transplant patients as well as those considering transplant, know the high cost of Immunosuppressant Medication which can set a patient back financially by $1,000 to $3,000 a month. After the 36-month drug coverage, many patients such as Melissa J. Whitaker struggle to cover the cost of crucial medications. In fact, when Melissa could not afford her Anti-Rejection Drugs she soon found herself skipping doses and her kidney failed shortly thereafter, the New York Times reported. “If they had just paid for the pills, I’d still have my kidney,” said Ms. Whitaker.
Recommended Reading: How to Deal with the High Priced Kidney Transplant Anti-Rejection Drugs
Now on her second Kidney Transplant, she fears that she will find herself in a similar situation once her 36-month coverage clock ticks down to zero. Unfortunately, she is not alone. Several other patients have suggested that they have lost or are losing their Kidney Transplants because they cannot afford their drugs.
To be more specific, Medicare is capping costs. It will pay approximately $414,000 for the transplant which is where we derive the 36-month coverage. However, the cost-benefit analysis would seem obvious since the United States Renal Data System found that Medicare spends an average of $17,000 a year on care for Kidney Transplant recipients after the first year, most of it for anti-rejection drugs. That compares with $71,000 a year for dialysis patients and $106,000 for a recent Kidney Transplant Recipient (including the first year of monitoring).
“It doesn’t make any sense at all,” noted Ms. Whitaker. Well, most Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients would agree. If you support extending Immunosuppressant Medication coverage, then take action and sign the following petition and remain on the page to for a link to sign another active petition that needs 100,000 signatures to be placed on the voting ballot:
Whether you are a patient or a loved one, we need your support. Once you have signed the petition, then share it with others and ask them to do the same.
Do you think that Medicare should cover the cost of Anti-Rejection Drugs? Do you desire a Kidney Transplant to avoid or get off of Dialysis? Share your experience and insights with the over 81,000 Friends who have liked KidneyBuzz.com on Facebook (click here). Also, follow the over 250,000 monthly individual viewers who visit KidneyBuzz.com regularly for the latest daily news and information which teach those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplant, Diabetes, and Hypertension how to better manage and improve their lives. Anjan Das (Dialysis patient) said, "Kidney Buzz is a ray of hope in my life...."