Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
Transplant Hospital and Community Social Workers can help you access resources: financial, insurance, pharmaceutical assistance, fund raising organizations, emergency air transportation, hotel and lodging assistance near the hospital, Medicare, and other assistance programs. Here are some common resources:
Alliance for Paired Donation has a program called OPT (Options Post-Transplantation) for a New Start that provides an opportunity for kidney transplant recipients to acquire a college degree, maintain the health of their kidney, increase their return-to-work rate and begin to enjoy life again after transplantation.
American Dental Association
How can I find out about charitable or low-cost dental care for persons in need? State dental organizations
American Kidney Fund helps dialysis patients with health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses not covered by insurance. AKF also provides scholarships to kidney patients who want to pursue an education in the health care field. 800-638-8299
American Organ Transplant Association helps patients with free transportation to and from their transplant center, many times hundreds of miles away. 713-344-2402
Chamber of Commerce
Many local chambers offer health insurance to their members.
Children's Organ Transplant Association helps children and young adults who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support. 800-366-2682
Donated Dental Services has volunteer dentists who provide dental work for people who are elderly or disabled in 30+ states.
Comparison shop among policies from 180 insurance providers by state.
Freelancers Union Membership is free if you qualify and gives access to group health, dental and disability insurance. 800-856-9981
The Healthwell Foundation, based on their funding and available money, will help people who qualify based on certain diagnoses and other factors pay for premiums and co-pays. 800-675-8416
HelpHOPELive (formerly called National Transplant Assistance Fund) works with families and volunteers throughout the United States to establish successful grass-roots fundraising campaigns in honor of individuals facing transplantation or for persons who have sustained a catastrophic injury (incl. spinal cord or traumatic brain). 800-642-8399, 610-727-0612
Lotsa Helping Hands is a simple, immediate way for friends, family, colleagues and neighbors to assist loved ones in need. It is an easy-to-use, private group online calendar, specifically designed for organizing helpers, where everyone can pitch in with meal delivery, rides, and other necessary tasks. There is no cost to your family to use this system.
Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Part D helps you learn about Medicare prescription drug coverage and find and compare prescription drug plans.
Use the Find an Agent feature on the home page to locate a licensed health insurance broker in your area.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners web site allows you to search for your state's insurance department. State insurance departments are the best sources for company and agent licensing information.
National Foundation for Transplants offers fundraising assistance for organ and tissue transplant patients across the country, tailoring efforts to best suit each individual. 901-684-1697, 800-489-3863, firstname.lastname@example.org
Overview and key information for organ transplant recipients about oral health before and after transplantation. Also, find a section on low cost dental care
Organ Transplantation and Your Mouth National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation helps the underinsured access the health care they so desperately need to continue living a relatively normal and productive lifestyle. 866-316-PANF (7263)
Patient Advocate Foundation offers personalized assistance to patients with specific issues they are facing with their insurer, employer and/or creditor regarding insurance, job retention and/or debt crisis matters relative to their diagnosis of life threatening or debilitating diseases. email@example.com, 800-532-5274
Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need through the program that is right for them, for free or nearly free.
Together Rx Access helps individuals and families without prescription drug coverage to gain access to immediate savings on hundreds of brand-name and generic prescription products right at their neighborhood pharmacies. 800-444-4106
There are many web sites available to help you determine if an assistance program is available for your medication. Your health care professional (nurse, social worker or physician) may be required to submit an application on your behalf.
Most drug manufacturers have assistance programs:
CellCept ® - Genentech Access to Care Program: 877-436-3683
Gengraf® - Abbott: Patient Assisance Program: 800-633-9110, www.abbottpatientassistancefoundation.org
Myfortic®, Neoral®, Sandimmune® - Novartis: Transplant Reimbursement Information: 877-952-1000
Prograf® - Astellas: Reimbursement Services: 800-477-6472, www.astellasreimbursement.com
Rapamune® - Pfizer: 888-327-7787; Rapamune Copay Savings Card
South Carolina Drug Card
A free statewide prescription assistance program that offers free drug cards to all South Carolina residents. The program provides discounts on both brand and generic medications with an average savings of around 30%. The program has no restrictions to membership, no income requirements, no age limitations and there are no applications to fill out. www.SouthCarolinaDrugCard.com
In March of 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act-the new health law. The law creates a new program the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan -- to make health coverage available to you if you have been denied health insurance by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition. Read about the PCIP, then use the map to learn more about how the program works in your state.
Membership is $85 to $125 a year and gives access to group health insurance for sole proprietors and very small businesses. 800-343-0939
If you believe your illness will prevent you from working for a year or longer, contact your local Social Security Administration office to apply for disability. Call 800-772-1213 for information, to file a claim or to request publications. If you are not collecting Medicare already due to your age or diagnosis of End Stage Renal Disease, you will be eligible for Medicare after collecting 24 social security disability (SSDI) checks. If eligible for SSI, many states include the Medicaid benefit.
Approximately 20 states have programs that offer assistance for kidney transplant or dialysis patients with outpatient medications and other expenses. To find out if your state has such a program, contact the National Organization for State Kidney Programs at 800-733-7345.
Many states and the U.S. Virgin Islands offer help paying drug plan premiums and/or other drug costs.
Taking Control: Money Matters For People With Chronic Kidney Disease
This book is designed to provide individuals with stage 5 CKD (dialysis and transplant) the information they need to help pay for treatment for kidney failure, understanding what Medicare pays for, employer group health plans, prescription drug coverage and other relevant money matters. Published by National Endowment for Financial Education and the National Kidney Foundation (#01-10-0250)
Chapter 1: Understanding Costs (PDF* 2.4MB)
Chapter 2: Keeping Health Insurance Coverage (PDF* 3.5MB)
Chapter 3: What Medicare, Medigap, Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs Can Pay for (PDF* 5.4MB)
Chapter 4: How Social Security Can Help (PDF* 1MB)
Chapter 5: More Sources of Financial Help (PDF* 4MB)
Chapter 6: Definitely Yes! Going to School, Working and Traveling (PDF* 4MB)
Chapter 7: A Summary of Helpful Programs and Financial Resources (PDF* 3.5MB)
Ticket to Work Program is free, voluntary and available to most people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because they are disabled or blind. This is part of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 legislation designed to remove many of the barriers that previously influenced people's decisions about going to work because of the concerns over losing health care coverage.
Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO) has a scholarship program that gives thousands of dollars in academic grants to members and their families each year.