Financial Assistance and Resources for Chronic Kidney Disease

A diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD) can be stressful on several fronts. Your doctor will explain what treatments you need and what the long-term outlook might be. Because you can live for a long time with CKD, treatment can be expensive.1

There are direct and indirect costs of CKD treatment, and most people need some help paying for their treatment. Financial resources for people with CKD are available to make things easier.1

Start a Forum

Financial costs of chronic kidney disease

A person with CKD faces many healthcare costs. Among the direct costs may be:1-3

  • Health insurance premiums
  • Doctor appointments and related costs
  • Prescription medicines
  • Dialysis
  • Transplant-related costs

There are many indirect costs of CKD as well. These may include:1-3

  • Travel to and from medical appointments
  • Insurance co-payments
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Work-related costs

Work-related costs of chronic kidney disease

A person with CKD may be unable to work altogether. Or they might have to miss work because of appointments for treatment. If they are not working, they may have trouble paying for basic services such as housing, food, utilities, and childcare.4

If you have CKD, you might be eligible for time off work through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Your employer can advise you about this.4

Federal and state financial resources

Most people with CKD need some sort of help with the various costs of their care. The following government resources may be available to you:1,2

  • Federal government insurance, aka Medicare – Medicare coverage is available for many people with CKD. It pays healthcare costs for those over 65, and for those under 65 who have certain health conditions. It also provides coverage for anyone with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). Certain Medicare plans can work with your private health insurance or other coverage.
  • Social Security – The Social Security Administration has two financial assistance programs. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides payments to people who cannot work for long periods. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides extra help to those with a low income.
  • Federal-state health programs like Medicaid – Assistance may be available through your state’s Medicaid program. Children with CKD may qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • State programs – Your state may have some extra financial resources for people with chronic kidney disease. These may include health insurance assistance, specific kidney disease programs, and help with prescription medicines.

Other financial resources

Help may also be available through one or more of the following:1-3

  • Private health insurance
  • – You might have private health insurance coverage, possibly through your employer. Each plan is different and has different benefits. Take time to learn about your premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and coverage. Your insurance provider can tell you more.
  • Assistance for special populations – Veterans, military members and their families, Native Americans, and people with disabilities may find help through special programs. There are also resources to help pay for a kidney transplant.
  • Private organizations – Some charities supply scholarships or other financial help. These may be available nationally or in your local area. Funds can help with a variety of costs, from dental bills to air travel. The National Kidney Foundation can help you to learn about these. A safety net grant from the American Kidney Foundation also may help with some bills.
  • Help with prescription costs – Prescription costs can be very high, especially if you have no health insurance. Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to suggest cheaper versions of the same medicine. Mail-order pharmacies can sometimes be cheaper than in-person pharmacies. Drug discount programs can also help.

This or That

In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?

How to find financial assistance

If you have been diagnosed with CKD, there are many resources to help you. Gather as much information as you can about these resources. Collect all insurance paperwork and contact information for your provider. Your doctor may assign a social worker to help you with insurance, employment, and other related topics.1

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.