As a kidney patient who relies on assistance to pay for my health insurance, I am very concerned about the Department of Insurance’s Draft Bulletin 16-04, which the Statesman reported on May 19. The proposed rules would allow insurance companies to reject patients’ premium assistance from nonprofits like the American Kidney Fund.
I was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease in 2001 and have been on dialysis for 10 years. It’s an expensive, draining procedure. Spending six hours a day, three days a week undergoing treatment has severely limited my ability to work — and to afford my insurance premiums. Assistance from the American Kidney Fund has enabled me to have Medicare supplemental insurance, without which I would be ineligible for a transplant.
My story could easily apply to the many other Idahoans who sit beside me each week in the clinic and rely on the same support programs. Many have already seen their premium assistance refused by Blue Cross of Idaho. I fear many more will lose access to the care they need.
The Legislature and the Department of Insurance need to protect consumers and patients, and stop insurance companies from rejecting life-saving payments from charities.
John Carter, Caldwell