Approximately 30 million Americans, or 15 percent of the adult population, are affected by chronic kidney disease. Of that number, more than 660,000 have kidney failure, and almost 470,000 are on dialysis. More than 193,000, meanwhile, have a functioning kidney transplant, which requires them to follow a very strict daily medication regimen.

In a proposed rule issued on February 5, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that beneficiaries with ESRD will be able to enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans starting in 2021.

Currently, beneficiaries with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) are only allowed to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans in limited circumstances. The proposed rule implements the 21st Century Cures Act requirements to give all beneficiaries with ESRD the option to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan starting in 2021. This will give patients with ESRD access to more affordable Medicare coverage choices and extra benefits such as transportation or home-delivered meals.

The proposed changes advance President Trump’s Executive Orders on Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors and Advancing American Kidney Health as well as several of the CMS strategic initiatives.


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