Extending Medicare Coverage of Immunosuppressive Medications for Kidney Transplant Patients

Information regarding important Federal Legislation that would require Medicare to extend the coverage of immunosuppressive medication for kidney transplant patients


The Problem:

Currently in the United States people who are diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (kidney failure) and would qualify for Medicare benefits upon retirement, automatically qualify for Medicare regardless of age due to their diagnosis. Medicare covers 80% of all medical costs including dialysis for as long as a patient it on dialysis. To cover the 20% portion the patient obtains a secondary Medigap insurance. However, when a patient receives a kidney transplant, Medicare coverage ends after 3 years.


Dialysis is a treatment that is life limiting and requires a patient to be tethered to a machine for 12-15 hours per week in-center and 40 – 48 hours per week if done at home overnight. Most people can’t work while on dialysis due to fluctuating energy levels and Transplant is a treatment which returns a patient’s quality of life and allows them to be much more productive citizen. Besides the surgery, patients must take immunosuppressive medication for the rest of their lives. If patients are unable to afford the medication, they will lose their transplanted organ and either end up on dialysis or require another transplant surgery, both of which Medicare will pay for because they will again have a diagnosis of ESRD.


  • Dialysis costs approximately $90,000 per year per patient

  • Transplant Medications costs approximately $9000 per year per patient


The Solution:

It’s time to guarantee Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive medications for kidney transplant patients—Contact your members of Congress today and tell them to support the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act.


H.R. 5534 would…

  • Protect kidney transplant patients and decrease their risk of organ rejection

  • Save Medicare an estimated $300 million over 10 years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • #HonorTheGift of kidney donation


The Action:

Go to https://honorthegift.org/ click on Contact Congress to complete the form that will automatically send a letter to your Congressman or Congresswoman to ask them to support it. Or if you happen to have a personal relationship with your congresswoman, send her a text and ask her to please sign on to be a Co-sponsor of H.R. 5534, The Bill to get Medicare to extend the coverage of immunosuppressive medication.




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