How to Pay for Dialysis


A patients need dialysis treatment when their kidneys fail. Usually this is due to kidney disease but can also result from other health problems, such as amyloidosis. You can do dialysis treatments in the home or in a dialysis treatment center. Since dialysis treatments may take place on a daily basis, the costs can be staggering. Fortunately, options exist for paying those costly medical bills.

Consult with your medical insurance company to see if it provides coverage for dialysis. If you have private health insurance or health insurance through your or your spouse’s work, it is likely that it covers dialysis.

Use Medicare, if you qualify for and currently have it. To get Medicare, you must be either at least age 65 or in end-stage renal disease (ESRD). If you have ESRD, you must have paid in a certain amount to Social Security or be the spouse or dependent of someone on Medicare. Your local social security office can assist you with qualifications. For ESRD Medicare recipients, payment coverage for dialysis starts on the fourth month. Until that month, you can use private health insurance. If you have Medicare because you are at least age 65, coverage starts immediately for your dialysis.

Go to a V.A. medical center if you are a veteran. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has dialysis units at its medical facilities for veterans that need dialysis. You can find a V.A. medical facility near you by using the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Call 800-733-7345 for the National Organization for State Kidney Programs to find out if your state has an assistance program for dialysis patients.

Ask your dialysis center social worker about applying for a patient grant from the American Kidney Fund. The grant covers any related expenses that insurance does not cover. You can find grant applications on the American Kidney Fund website. Your social worker can help you with the application.

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