Letters to the Editor

Kidney patients in SC being forced off of private insurance

Being able to choose what health plan is best for you should be a fundamental right, but Blue Cross doesn’t think so if you’re a kidney patient.

Kidney disease is something that runs in my family, and I have been living with chronic kidney disease for 20 years. After my kidney function dropped below 10 percent in October 2016, I had to begin dialysis. Though I continued to work full-time, having private insurance was extremely important to help afford the many bills that came in from my medical treatment.

After I became eligible for Medicare coverage, I was told by Blue Cross that I would no longer be able to maintain my private insurance plan through them. But the problem is that Medicare only covers a portion of the payments for medical treatments, making private insurance crucial for many kidney patients to access life-saving health care.

Compounding the problem is that only two companies provide supplemental coverage for Medicare for those under 65, and neither of these firms will write a policy for patients with end-stage kidney disease.

Thankfully, there are a handful of nonprofits and charitable organizations, like the American Kidney Fund, that help dialysis patients like me. But now health insurers are even taking efforts to cut off that lifeline for dialysis patients. Why? Dialysis patients are expensive, so kicking us off private plans will save insurance companies money.

Please stop trying to make it more difficult for dialysis patients to get the care we need.

Cathy Farmer

Hilton Head Island