Medicare Blog

how to sign up for medicare for dialysis first time

by Lyla Legros III Published 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago

Most first-time Medicare applicants can choose between 2 options: Enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), with the option to add a stand-alone prescription drug plan and/or a Medicare Supplement insurance plan. Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, offered by private insurance companies contracted by the federal government.

But, you'll need both Part A and Part B to get the full benefits available under Medicare to cover certain dialysis and kidney transplant services. You can sign up for Part A and Part B by contacting your local Social Security office or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.

Full Answer

When does Medicare start for dialysis patients?

If training starts IN the window, a clinic can send in forms to backdate Medicare to the 1st day of the 1st month. If in-center dialysis continues, or training starts AFTER the window closes, Medicare starts at the 4th month.

What does Medicare pay for home dialysis training?

For home dialysis training services, Medicare typically pays a flat fee to your dialysis facility to supervise home dialysis training. After the Part B yearly deductible is met, Medicare pays 80 percent of the fee, and the remaining 20 percent is your responsibility.

How do I sign up for Medicare?

Contact Social Security to sign up for Medicare. Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health care. Part B covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.

Does Medicare cover kidney dialysis for children?

Medicare can help cover your child’s medical costs if your child needs regular dialysis because his or her kidneys no longer work, or if he or she has had a kidney transplant. Use the information in this booklet to help answer your questions, or visit


Does dialysis make you eligible for Medicare?

You can get Medicare no matter how old you are if your kidneys no longer work, you need regular dialysis or have had a kidney transplant, and one of these applies to you: You've worked the required amount of time under Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), or as a government employee.

How much does dialysis cost Medicare each year?

Medicare spending for kidney failure patients is at $35 billion in 2016. Hemodialysis care costs the Medicare system an average of $90,000 per patient annually in the United States, for a total of $28 billion. Spending for transplant patient care is $3.4 billion.

What percent of Medicare goes to dialysis?

At the end of 2018, there were over 500,000 patients receiving maintenance dialysis, who represent approximately 1% of the U.S. Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) population but account for approximately 7.2% of Medicare FFS spending.

Can a kidney failure patient be enrolled in Medicare?

Medicare for those with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD Medicare) provides you with health coverage if you have permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant. ESRD Medicare covers a range of services to treat kidney failure.

What is the average life expectancy of someone on dialysis?

Life expectancy on dialysis can vary depending on your other medical conditions and how well you follow your treatment plan. Average life expectancy on dialysis is 5-10 years, however, many patients have lived well on dialysis for 20 or even 30 years.

How much is a dialysis treatment out of pocket?

For patients not covered by health insurance, a single hemodialysis treatment typically costs up to $500 or more -- or, about $72,000 or more per year for the typical three treatments per week. Injectable medications and vitamins can add hundreds of dollars to the cost, depending on what is prescribed.

What benefits are dialysis patients entitled to?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of disability benefit programs that you may be eligible for. Social Security disability benefits for kidney dialysis patients are available. To qualify for disability, you need to meet the SSA's Blue Book listing for dialysis.

How much is the dialysis per session?

One dialysis treatment generally costs around $500 or more. For the usual three treatments per week, that would amount to more than $72,000 per year.

Does Medicare Part B pay for dialysis?

Part B covers dialysis overseen in a Medicare-approved outpatient dialysis facility. You will typically pay a 20% coinsurance for the cost of each session, which includes equipment, supplies, lab tests, and most dialysis medications.

How many months after dialysis does Medicare Start?

fourth monthIf you're on dialysis: Medicare coverage usually starts on the first day of the fourth month of your dialysis treatments. This 4-month waiting period will start even if you haven't signed up for Medicare.

Can kidneys start working again after dialysis?

Acute kidney failure requires immediate treatment. The good news is that acute kidney failure can often be reversed. The kidneys usually start working again within several weeks to months after the underlying cause has been treated. Dialysis is needed until then.

Is kidney failure a permanent disability?

You may wonder if your disability will be permanent. Kidney failure can be a permanent disability depending on the severity of your kidney disease. You will need to talk with your physician to determine if your disability will be permanent.

When does Medicare start covering kidney transplants?

Medicare coverage can begin the month you’re admitted to a Medicare-certified hospital for a kidney transplant (or for health care services that you need before your transplant) if your transplant takes place in that same month or within the next 2 months.

When does Medicare start ESRD?

When you enroll in Medicare based on ESRD and you’re on dialysis, Medicare coverage usually starts on the first day of the fourth month of your dialysis treatments. For example, if you start dialysis on July 1, your coverage will begin on October 1.

How to replace blood?

You can replace the blood by donating it yourself or getting another person or organization to donate the blood for you. The blood that’s donated doesn’t have to match your blood type. If you decide to donate the blood yourself, check with your doctor first.

What is assignment in Medicare?

Assignment—An agreement by your doctor, provider, or supplier to be paid directly by Medicare, to accept the payment amount Medicare approves for the service, and not to bill you for any more than the Medicare deductible and coinsurance.

Does Medicare cover home dialysis?

Medicare Part B covers training for home dialysis, but only by a facility certifed for dialysis training. You may qualify for training if you think you would benefit from home dialysis treatments, and your doctor approves. Training sessions occur at the same time you get dialysis treatment and are limited to a maximum number of sessions.

Does Medicare cover dialysis for children?

Your child can also be covered if you, your spouse, or your child gets Social Security or RRB benefits, or is eligible to get those benefits.Medicare can help cover your child’s medical costs if your child needs regular dialysis because their kidneys no longer work, or if they had a kidney transplant.Use the information in this booklet to help answer your questions, or visit To enroll your child in Medicare, or to get more information about eligibility, call or visit your local Social Security oce. You can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.

Does Medicare cover pancreas transplant?

If you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and need a pancreas transplant, Medicare covers the transplant if it’s done at the same time you get a kidney transplant or it’s done after a kidney transplant.

Check when to sign up

Answer a few questions to find out when you can sign up for Part A and Part B based on your situation.

When coverage starts

The date your Part A and Part B coverage will start depends on when you sign up.

Medicare basics

Start here. Learn the parts of Medicare, how it works, and what it costs.

Sign up

First, you’ll sign up for Parts A and B. Find out when and how to sign up, and when coverage starts.

When does Medicare start covering dialysis?

If you enroll in Medicare based on ESRD and you’re currently on dialysis, your Medicare coverage usually begins on the 1st day of your dialysis treatment’s 4th month. Coverage can start the 1st month if: During the first 3 months of dialysis, you participate in home dialysis training at a Medicare-certified facility.

How much does Medicare pay for home dialysis?

Once those premiums and deductibles are paid, Medicare typically pays 80 percent of the costs and you pay 20 percent . For home dialysis training services, Medicare typically pays a flat fee to your dialysis facility to supervise home dialysis training.

How long does it take for Medicare to resume?

Medicare coverage will resume if: within 12 months after the month , you stop getting dialysis, you start dialysis again or have a kidney transplant. within 36 months after the month you get a kidney transplant you get another kidney transplant or start dialysis.

How long does Medicare cover kidney transplants?

If you’re only eligible for Medicare due to permanent kidney failure, your coverage will stop: 12 months after the month dialysistreatments are stopped. 36 months following the month youhave a kidney transplant. Medicare coverage will resume if:

How long does Medicare retroactive coverage last?

If you’re eligible for Medicare based on ESRD but miss your initial enrollment period, you may be eligible for retroactive coverage of up to 12 months, once you’ve enrolled.

How much is Medicare Part A 2020?

The annual deductible for Medicare Part A is $1,408 (when admitted to a hospital) in 2020. This covers the first 60 days of hospital care in a benefit period. According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services, about 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries do not have a premium for Part A.

What services are covered by Medicare?

certain home support services: covered by Medicare Part B. most drugs for in-facility and at-home dialysis: covered by Medicare Part B. other services and supplies, such as laboratory tests: covered by Medicare Part B.

How long does it take for Medicare to stop paying for dialysis?

Beneficiaries receiving Medicare only because of ESRD will stop receiving benefits either: 12 months after the month you end dialysis treatments.

How much does Medicare pay for kidney failure?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Medicare pays an average of $80,000 each year for beneficiaries with kidney failure. After accounting for the portion paid by Medicare Part B, the remaining 20% averaged out to $16,000 per Medicare beneficiary needing dialysis treatments.

What is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B#N#Medicare Part B is the portion of Medicare that covers your medical expenses. Sometimes called "medical insurance," Part B helps pay for the Medicare-approved services you receive.#N#helps cover home dialysis supplies, including dialysis machines, water purifiers, and some medical supplies.

What is the Medicare deductible for 2021?

In 2021, the Part B deductible is $203. Premium: This is the monthly cost of Part B. You must pay your monthly Part B premium to have active Part B coverage.

How long does dialysis training last?

For example, spouses and other loved ones can learn how to help administer your home dialysis treatments. The training periods can last 10 to 12 hours per day for several weeks.

Does Medicare cover kidney failure?

This typically includes a bundle of Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D). can now cover the treatments for ESRD, or kidney failure, and may have different costs than Original Medicare’s Part B. Medicare will also help pay for you and/or another person to receive the training needed to perform your at-home ...

Can you do dialysis at night?

You can administer either treatment during the day or night at your doctor’s recommendation. Each uses different equipment, and the length of your treatments depends on your specific health needs. Talk to your doctor to find out what kind of home dialysis is in your care plan.

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