Urge your U.S. Representative to protect insurance choices for ESRD patients

The American Kidney Fund helps pay the health insurance premiums of low-income and financially struggling individuals on dialysis, and insurers have accepted our charitable premium assistance for almost two decades. Unfortunately, some insurers are now implementing policies rejecting our payments and prohibiting charitable premium assistance altogether.

The problem was caused by a March 2014 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule that directed health insurance companies to accept payments from federal and state governments, tribal organizations, and the Ryan White HIV/AIDS organization for Affordable Care Act health plans. The rule did not include the requirement for insurers to accept payments from charitable organizations like AKF; thereby giving health insurance companies the opening to reject premium payments from charities.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are writing to the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price. The letter urges Secretary Price to update the 2014 rule to include nonprofit charitable organizations, places of worship, and local civic organizations as entities from which insurers are required to accept payments.

Please take action and email your Representative today to urge them to sign the letter to Secretary Price.


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Re: Please sign on to the charitable premium assistance letter to HHS Secretary Tom Price

Dear [Decision Maker],

As your constituent, I am writing to respectfully request that you cosign a letter to HHS Secretary Price on the issue of charitable premium assistance for health insurance premiums that is being circulated by Reps. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Doris Matsui (D-CA).

Many charities, including the American Kidney Fund (AKF), make health insurance premium payments on behalf of low-income and financially struggling individuals. A 2014 CMS rule required insurers to accept payments made by state and federal entities, tribal organizations, and Ryan White HIV/AIDS organizations. The rule did not include charitable organizations like AKF, thereby providing a path for health insurance companies to reject premium payments made by charities.

I am a kidney disease patient, and this issue affects me directly. AKF runs America's oldest and largest federally approved charitable premium assistance program, helping 1 in 5 end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients on dialysis keep their health insurance coverage regardless of which type of plan they choose. This coverage is vital to obtaining the lifesaving treatment that patients with kidney failure need--including dialysis, transplant and medications.

The Cramer-Matsui letter urges Secretary Price to include three additional entities from which insurance must accept direct payments:

1) charitable organizations
2) places of worship
3) civic organizations

These types of organizations help vulnerable people during times of trouble and hardship. The letter also suggests that the current program be strengthened to ensure that the payments are made by bona fide nonprofits and the patient selects a health plan that best suits their individual needs.

I hope that you will sign on to the letter. Please contact Ryan Nelson (ryan.nelson@mail.house.gov in Representatives Cramer's office or Megan Herber (megan.herber@mail.house.gov) in Representative Matsui's office by May 19.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]