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Info for People with ESRD

People with ESRD have a variety of considerations when it comes to Medicare. This page addresses some of these, including when you can enroll in Medicare, what parts of Medicare you can get, and how Medicare covers kidney dialysis and treatment.

Medicare Enrollment & End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

Regardless of age, if you have been diagnosed by your doctor with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and are on dialysis for three months, or have had a kidney transplant, you are automatically eligible for Medicare.

You do not have collect Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits to get Medicare if you have ESRD. This is because some people with ESRD continue to work, and never apply for disability benefits. Either way, you are eligible for Medicare. The start date of your Medicare benefits depends on the type of treatment you get.

Note: If you get health insurance through your job (or your spouse's job), you should talk with your human resources department to find out how your benefits may change if you enroll in Medicare. In general, your job’s health insurance will continue to pay first for 30 months (2.5 years). You may want to delay Medicare. Get personal help with reviewing your options.

To enroll in Medicare, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or visit them online. Once you are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you should review the other options such as getting Part D prescription drug coverage.

Can I join a Medicare Advantage plan?

Most people with ESRD will have Original Medicare. There are only a few situations in which you may join a Medicare Advantage plan. These are explained in more detail on Medicare.gov.

Does Medicare cover kidney dialysis and transplants?

Medicare covers a wide range of services related to kidney dialysis and transplants. To get this coverage, most people must be enrolled in Original Medicare.

Read more about these services and their costs in the official Medicare publication, Medicare Coverage of Kidney Dialysis and Kidney Transplant Services.

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