Ask your U.S. Legislators to Cosponsor Important Kidney Disease Legislation

Take action to improve the lives of kidney patients

The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2021 (H.R. 4065/S. 1971) aims to improve the lives of those with kidney disease. The legislation would increase awareness of kidney disease and expand preventative services. Additionally, the bill would also give dialysis patients under the age of 65, who are Medicare beneficiaries, guaranteed access to Medigap plans.

Specifically, among other provisions, the bill would do the following:

  • Include Kidney Screening in Annual Medicare Wellness Benefit. Many people with kidney disease do not know that they have it. Including a screening in the yearly wellness checks for Medicare beneficiaries will provide patients and their doctors with a report of kidney function. It will allow doctors to track if kidney function decreases over time and provide early interventions.
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  • Expand the Medicare Kidney Disease Education (KDE) benefit. The KDE benefit is a service covered by Medicare. At stage four of chronic kidney disease (CKD), Medicare recipients are eligible to meet with a doctor to learn about CKD and how to improve health to delay dialysis. It can also include information on nutrition, importance of exercise, management of other chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes, and treatment modality options such as in-center hemodialysis, home dialysis and kidney transplant. The bill would expand the benefit to allow dialysis facilities to provide this information. It would also expand the health care providers who can be reimbursed for this information to include physician assistants and nurse practitioners. The bill would also allow patients with stage 5 CKD to access the KDE benefit.
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  • Expand Access to Medigap plans. Medicare beneficiaries under the age of 65 are not guaranteed access to a Medicare supplemental plan called Medigap. Dialysis is paid through Medicare Part B, which pays 80%, and the patient is required to pay 20% with no out-of-pocket cap. Medigap plans cover that 20%, which can be unaffordable to most dialysis patients. Medigap is regulated by the state for people under the age of 65, and in 20 states, Medigap insurers are not required to offer Medigap to ESRD patients under age 65. The bill would require that all ESRD patients with Medicare would be guaranteed access to a Medigap plan regardless of which state they live in. The provision would ensure that more dialysis patients have the full health insurance coverage that they need.
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  • Including Dialysis Centers in Network Adequacy Standards. Starting on January 1, 2021, all Medicare ESRD patients became eligible to opt-into Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. However, prior to the plans starting, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) removed outpatient dialysis from its list of specialty facilities that are subject to MA network adequacy standard. These standards determine how many types of providers must be in a plan’s network, based on factors like travel time or the number of miles a beneficiary must drive to reach a provider’s office or facility. Without the standards, dialysis patients in MA plans may have difficulty finding a dialysis center in driving distance. The bill would require MA plans to included dialysis centers in their network adequacy standards.
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  • Study on How to Increase Kidney Transplants. The bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Service (HHS) to submit a report to Congress on how to increase kidney transplants. The study would report on possible economic disincentives in the Medicare program, practices used by states that have higher than average transplant rates, barriers to increasing living donation, and increasing deceased donations.
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    Please contact your federally elected officials and ask them to cosponsor this important legislation below.

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    • Your Senators
    • Your Representative

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    Question - Not Required - What is your connection to kidney disease?










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    Once you submit the form, your personalized message will be sent directly to your Members of Congress.

     
     

    Message

    Please cosponsor H.R. 4065/S. 1971, the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2021

    Dear [Decision Maker],



    As your constituent and someone who has been touched by kidney disease, I am writing to respectfully ask that you cosponsor H.R. 4065/S. 1971, the Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2021.

    The Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2021 (H.R. 4065/S. 1971) aims to improve the lives of those with kidney disease. The legislation would increase awareness of kidney disease and expand preventative services. Additionally, the bill would also give dialysis patients under the age of 65, who are Medicare beneficiaries, guaranteed access to Medigap plans.

    Specifically, among other provisions, the bill would do the following:

    1) Include Kidney Screening in Annual Medicare Wellness Benefit. Many people with kidney disease do not know that they have it. Including a screening in the yearly wellness checks for Medicare beneficiaries will provide patients and their doctors with a report of kidney function. It will allow doctors to track if kidney function decreases over time and provide early interventions.

    2) Expand the Medicare Kidney Disease Education (KDE) benefit. The KDE benefit is a service covered by Medicare. At stage four of chronic kidney disease (CKD), Medicare recipients are eligible to meet with a doctor to learn about CKD and how to improve health to delay dialysis. It can also include information on nutrition, importance of exercise, management of other chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes, and dialysis modalities. The bill would expand the benefit to allow dialysis facilities to provide this information. It would also expand the health care providers who can be reimbursed for this information to include physician assistants and nurse practitioners. The bill would also include patients with stage 5 of CKD in KDE.

    3) Expand Access to Medigap plans. Medicare beneficiaries under the age of 65 are not guaranteed access to a Medicare supplemental plan called Medigap. Dialysis is paid through Medicare Part B, which pays 80%, and the patient is required to pay 20%. Medigap plans cover that 20%, which can be unaffordable to most dialysis patients. Medigap is regulated by the state for people under the age of 65. The bill would require that all ESRD patients with Medicare would be guaranteed access to a Medigap plan regardless of which state they live in. The provision would ensure that more dialysis patients have the full health insurance coverage that they need.

    4) Including Dialysis Centers in Network Adequacy Standards. Starting on January 1, 2021, ESRD patients became eligible to opt-into Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. However, prior to the plans starting, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) removed outpatient dialysis from its list of specialty facilities that are subject to MA network adequacy standard. These standards determine how many types of providers must be in a plan's network, based on factors like travel time or the number of miles a beneficiary must drive to reach a provider's office or facility. Without the standards, dialysis patients in MA plans may have difficulty finding a dialysis center in driving distance. The bill would require MA plans to included dialysis centers in their network adequacy standards.

    5) Study on How to Increase Kidney Transplants. The bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Service (HHS) to submit a report to Congress on how to increase kidney transplants. The study would report on possible economic disincentives in the Medicare program, practices used by states that have higher than average transplant rates, barriers to increasing living donation, and increasing deceased donations.

    Please cosponsor this important legislation.

    Sincerely,
    [Your Name]
    [Your Address]
    [City, State ZIP]