5 Ways to Pay for Kidney Dialysis Costs

| 5 min read Financial Assistance

Dealing with kidney failure is stressful enough on its own. Compound that with the costs and multiple hours of sessions per week involved with dialysis treatment, and it becomes even more challenging. If you’ve been diagnosed with kidney disease, we understand it’s a difficult time for you and want to help.

Despite the fact that dialysis can be expensive, these high costs should not prevent any dialysis patient from receiving care. There are a number of ways to pay for treatment if you can’t afford it. We’ve assembled a list of resources for how to pay for dialysis so that you can concentrate on your health and well-being.

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How much does dialysis cost? 

Exact costs for dialysis treatment vary greatly. For most patients, the federal government covers 80% of all dialysis costs. Although federal health insurance covers the majority of dialysis costs, 20% still falls to the patient. For patients without health insurance, dialysis is an even bigger expense. One dialysis treatment generally costs around $500 or more. For the usual three treatments per week, that would amount to more than $72,000 per year.

How to pay for dialysis: five resources 

Although dialysis is expensive, help is within reach. Our team has compiled a list of resources ranging from federal and state programs to nonprofit organizations that will help pay for the treatment of kidney failure.

1. Medicare

Medicare—a federal health insurance program—is available to a person of any age who requires dialysis. Medicare Part A covers the costs if you receive dialysis after going to the hospital. Medicare Part B covers outpatient doctors’ services. A dialysis patient is accountable for handling premiums, coinsurance, copays, and yearly deductibles on their own. So how much does dialysis cost?

Medicare Part A

  • In 2020, the annual deductible is $1,408 for Medicare Part A. With this, the first 60 days of hospital care in a benefit period are covered. The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services report that about 99% of Medicare beneficiaries don’t have a premium for Medicare Part A.

Medicare Part B

  • In 2020, the annual deductible was $198 for Medicare Part B. The monthly premium was $144.60. After paying the deductibles and premiums, Medicare generally covers 80% of the costs and you cover the remaining 20% of dialysis treatment cost.

2. Medicaid

Free or low-cost health coverage is provided by Medicaid for low-income families and children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. Every state has its own Medicaid program that adheres to rules set by the federal government. Medicaid may pay for services that Medicare doesn’t cover.

3. The Social Security Administration

Another federal program that can provide financial assistance is the Social Security Administration through its two programs:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) gives monthly funds to people who can’t work and have paid enough Social Security taxes. SSDI may be an alternative for those who have an illness or injury that SSDI believes will prevent an individual from working for at least one year. A five-month waiting period is in place before receiving SSDI payments.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) gives monthly funds to disabled adults and children who lack income and other financial assets. An individual who receives SSI may also be eligible for Medicaid and food stamps.

4. Crowdfund for dialysis costs 

Even with financial assistance from federal and state programs, the cost of dialysis can still be overwhelming. If you or someone you know needs additional support, consider turning to crowdfunding. With crowdfunding, you can quickly and easily fundraise for dialysis treatment. Crowdfunding has many benefits:

  • There are no long wait periods to get your funds, which can be directly deposited into your or your beneficiary’s bank account.
  • There is no application process.
  • You can easily share your online fundraiser with friends and family on social media, in emails, or through text messages.
  • You are able to reach people beyond your friends and family.

Asking for help is no easy task, but crowdfunding takes some of the fear and pressure off. Countless people start medical fundraisers on GoFundMe every day, raising money for everything from surgery costs to expensive long-term medical treatments. Before starting your own, learn how to successfully raise more money by checking out our medical fundraising tips and medical crowdfunding guide.

5. American Kidney Fund

American Kidney Fund (AKF) is a nonprofit organization that provides charitable premium assistance to low-income dialysis patients. Its Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP) gives long-term financial assistance to individuals so that they’re able to pay for health insurance. AKF helps patients with all kinds of insurance plans.

Find help with dialysis costs today

There is no question that dialysis treatment is expensive, but that doesn’t mean it should put a financial barrier between you and the care you need. Through crowdfunding, it’s possible to afford dialysis so you can focus your time and energy on your health. Tell your story and share your fundraiser to your close network and beyond. Your friends and family want to help you more than you know, and you may be surprised by the outpouring of support from your community, both locally and nationally. All it takes is getting started.

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Written by GoFundMe