Kidney failure affects more than 650,000 Americans; of those, more than 450,000 are on dialysis. Some fast facts about dialysis: there are two primary types — hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Dialysis can cost over $100,000 per year when paid at the appropriate Medicare rate, however the reality is that most employer-sponsored health plans pay 8 to 10 times that amount annually.
I imagine you’re getting the picture. Dialysis is a massively expensive reality for many Americans and their employers, and is an equally massive factor for insurance considerations. So what is the deal with dialysis, and does it have to cost so much? Let’s dive in.
Two Types of Dialysis
Hemodialysis is the kind we all usually think of. A patient drives to a facility, usually three times a week, and spends four hours having toxins filtered out of their blood. A tube is hooked up to one arm, the blood is run through a machine that does the filtering, and the clean blood is returned to the body through the other arm.
This type of dialysis requires less patient participation, but it’s inconvenient to say the least.
Peritoneal dialysis is done at home. Rather than filtering the blood directly, a fluid called dialysate is placed into the stomach through a permanent catheter (a small tube leading into the stomach from outside the body). When blood passes through the stomach lining, the dialysate filters out the toxins.
After a few hours, the dialysate is flushed out of the stomach, more is put back in, and the process begins again. This must be done three or four times a day.
While it is more convenient than treatment at a dialysis center, it means the patient must be more involved, and they risk infection.
Kidney Dialysis Costs
Peritoneal dialysis tends to be cheaper than hemodialysis, largely because it is done at home. But home hemodialysis is possible, too — and more cost-efficient. In fact, between 2003 and 2007, the number of kidney dialysis patients using home hemodialysis increased by 35%, with cost being a factor in that trend.
Lowering Kidney Dialysis Cost
There are complications, though, with insurance in terms of lowering kidney dialysis cost. Training patients can take a lot of time and up-front money from dialysis centers, and face-to-face visits are often still required.
On the other hand, if you know how to navigate the legal system, you can greatly reduce kidney dialysis costs. Renal case management is an excellent way to approach this.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to kidney dialysis cost. The system can be overwhelming and expensive. But there are ways to keep costs to a minimum. Services like Specialty Care Management have programs, such as their Renal Re-Pricing, which significantly reduce costs.
Total care for a patient in End Stage Renal Failure can come to over $1 million per year. If you’re looking to reduce those health care costs, get in touch with us today. We’re dedicated to reducing costs as much as possible. In most cases, we are able to cut costs for you by up to 80%.