Paying for Dialysis

People with ESRD must ensure that their insurance plan will cover hospital stays, doctors and other providers, dialysis (including home dialysis) and transplant (including living donors), supplies and equipment, and medications. Please speak with your dialysis social worker to discuss your insurance coverage at least twice a year to ensure that your needs are covered.

Medicare Coverage

Medicare Eligibility

You can get Medicare no matter your age if all of the following apply to you:

  • Your kidneys no longer work
  • You need regular dialysis or have had a kidney transplant
  • One of these applies to you:
      • You've worked the required amount of time under Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), or as a government employee
      • You're already getting or are eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits
      • You're the spouse or dependent child of a person who meets either of the requirements above

Contact Social Security for more information about the amount of time required to be eligible for Medicare.

How to Apply for Medicare
  • If you are eligible for Medicare because of ESRD, you can enroll in Part A and Part B by visiting your local Social Security office or by contacting Social Security.
  • Learn more about signing up for Medicare because of ESRD.
Medicare Coverage

Eligibility for Medicare coverage based on ESRD works differently than other types of Medicare eligibility. If you’re eligible for Medicare based on ESRD and don’t sign up right away, your coverage could start up to 12 months before the month you apply.

Tools & Resources

General Resources

  • Health Insurance 101 - Options for People with ESRD: Link

Medicare Resources

  • About Medicare for People with ESRD: Link
  • Find a Medicare Plan: Link
  • Drug Coverage (Part D): Link
  • What is Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?: Link
  • Kidney Transplant Coverage: Link
  • Medicare Basics - Commonly Used Acronyms: Link
  • Medicare Coverage of Kidney Dialysis & Kidney Transplant Services: English|Spanish
  • Official U.S. Government Medicare Handbook - Medicare & You: English|Spanish

Insurance Assistance Programs

  • RxAssist: Patient Assistance Program Center - This website lists programs that provide financial assistance for medications.
  • American Kidney Fund (AKF): Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP) - HIPP covers premiums for Part B Medicare, Medigap, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid (in states that charge premiums), commercial plans (including Marketplace plans), employer group health plans and COBRA plans.