On Tuesday, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, joined Rep. Cindy Axne, D-West Des Moines, Iowa, to introduce legislation expanding access to Medigap insurance coverage to all patients living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), regardless of age, according to a news release.
“Folks living with end stage renal disease should have access to life-saving medications, dialysis, and kidney transplants needed to treat their illness. Unfortunately, thousands of Americans under the age of 65 living with ESRD are barred from obtaining a Medigap plan that could help cover the cost of these treatments. Removing this barrier would not only improve care for Southwest Washington residents, it would result in long-term savings on health care spending. I’m proud to partner with my colleague Congresswoman Axne on this important legislation to put Medigap plans within reach and thereby ensure patients — regardless of their age — can access the care they need,” Herrera Beutler said in the release.
According to the release, for Americans living with ESRD, lack of access to Medicare or private insurance that covers dialysis can mean $72,000 in annual out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving treatment with no alternatives. The Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act would allow anyone nationwide with ESRD to purchase Medigap supplemental plans that cover kidney treatments by removing the existing age requirement.
The Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act is named in memory of John “Jack” Reynolds from Carlisle, Iowa, who required decades of treatment for kidney failure stemming from an accident he sustained at age 4. Jack’s health condition inspired him to pursue a lifetime of advocacy for expanded coverage for others living with kidney disease.