The Adventures of Kidney Boy

A Journal About Living With End Stage Renal Disease

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Cost of Dialysis

I've been on dialysis since 2003, and yet in all those years, I'm still amazed at the cost of treatment.

We do get decent health care for ESRD in our country, thankfully - but this disease is no joke.  ESRD is an automatic qualifier for Medicare, and most patients can get Medicaid as well.  I get an itemized list, however, every month from my Medicare service provider, and it's amazing the cost that goes into keeping me alive.

Here's a sample of some costs.

9/01/10-9/29/10

Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26
Dialysis Procedure                              $1,259.26

Claim Total                $55,945.40


Syringe w/o needle(A4657)                      $41.99
Syringe w/o needle(A4657)                      $41.99
Syringe w/o needle(A4657)                      $41.99
Syringe w/o needle(A4657)                      $41.99
Syringe w/o needle(A4657)                      $41.99  251.94
Syringe w/o needle(A4657)                      $41.99
Epoetin Alfa (EPOGEN) 100 units ESRD (q4081)    $7,372.00
Epoetin Alfa (EPOGEN) 100 units ESRD (q4081)    $7,372.00
Epoetin Alfa (EPOGEN) 100 units ESRD (q4081)    $7,372.00
Epoetin Alfa (EPOGEN) 100 units ESRD (q4081)    $7,372.00
Epoetin Alfa (EPOGEN) 100 units ESRD (q4081)    $7,372.00
Epoetin Alfa (EPOGEN) 100 units ESRD (q4081)    $7,372.00


Claim Total - $44,483.94


10/01/10 - 10/31/10

Neprology Associates of Syracuse - 1.0 ESRD home pt, office visit                              $425.00



That's just an average month of dialysis costs.  I am exteremly anemic, and the Epogen helps build my redblood cells and keeps me from getting tired.  I'm on a lot of it, and as you can see - it's VERY expensive.

People with ESRD are lucky enough to get decent care here, but there are still fights and arguments over it all the time.  Arguments over quality of life, the quality of lives saved.  I can tell you one thing, at least for me - I don't take all this health care for granted.   I'm going to live through this, and be the best and most productive member of society I can be.  So, to those of you who work hard, pay taxes and bitch about having to pay for other people's health care, remember - there are people out there who are (trying) to be decent citizens, and we DO appreciate the hard work and sacrafice you contribute to help keep us alive.  If you ever feel bad about it, and you're friends with me, know that in a way you're helping me.


~Steve

10 comments:

  1. Dialysis costs are incredibly high, but it's important to remember that often the "claim" total is the retail price, not the price that is actually paid by insurance companies or Medicare.

    For example, my center charged over $18,800 for a single day of treatment and drugs in November 2010, but my insurance paid about $2,000, which was the contracted amount. This varies all over the place.

    If you had no insurance and Medicare wasn't in the equation, you would be obligated to pay the retail price. Considering that there are nearly 50 million uninsured people in the U.S., this is why bankruptcy due to medical costs is so prevalent. I spent 18 months without insurance prior to kidney failure, and just the cost of meds and checkups (no hospitalizations that year) nearly bankrupted us before we found coverage.

    Since I am now on dialysis, I'm covered by private insurance, which since I am still working, can afford to pay for, as well as Medicare, which will pick up what private coverage does not. I, too, am grateful for the program, and have no problem paying some taxes to help support it.

    gary

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  2. I am donating a kidney to my boyfriend and am blogging about the process. educating people and asking for contributions for out of pocket cost are where we are now.
    http://mykidneyadventure.tumblr.com

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  3. Consider chinese herble meds its alot cheaper and better its a whole nother approach i know someone who is seeing a chinese dr for pkd

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    1. Yeah. Let me know how that works out for you in this case. I'll stick to Western Medicine on this matter, thank you.

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  4. I understand what you’re going through. My aunt has Stage 4 CKD. Though she doesn’t need dialysis treatment yet, we are prepared for the worst. I love that, despite your condition, you’re still striving to be the best person that you can be. I admire you for that; you serve as an inspiration for people who are going through the same situation. I wish you all the best, Steve!

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  5. My family member is undergoing Dialysis in a reputed hospital in Bangalore (India), charge is 40$ per visit. There are also semi-non-profits hospitals and they charge 16$ per visit.

    Assuming(yes, a big assumption) China manufactures these instruments and also chemicals, and supplies to almost every country in the world, why there is a huge difference in Dialysis price between US and rest of the world?

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  6. I'm posting very late, but I'm very happy to continue paying taxes for supporting you. I only wish every cent was so well concentrated on keeping individuals like you happy.

    I also wish that each cent was spent efficiently, but that's another matter entirely.

    Just keep that attitude about you; you'll work wonders someday. =)

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. I'm a 34 year old male, and I , too, am a dialysis patient. In the 8 years I have been on dialysis, I have expierenced a lot of the same problems and frustrations that you do. I am also very anemic and receive epoten shots twice a week.

    I go to DCI in Hermitage Pa three days a week. I love my dialysis center and everyone there. They are very well organized and extremely competent facility. The nurses and technicians there all care about their patients a great deal.

    I chose to do hemodialysis through an AV Fistula in my right forearm. I was diagnosed with ESRD after I had a heart attack and lapsed into a coma when I was 26 years old. After my blood tests came back, they determined my kidneys were at almost 0% function. I was started on dialysis immeadiatly. I remember none of this as I didn't wake up in the hospital until a week later. I was told by a family member and doctors what had happened. I have since had three heart attacks and two strokes. I also have pulmonary hypertension, congestive heart failure, and posterior reversable encephalopathy syndrome (PRES). PRES causes me to have seizures if my blood pressure gets too high. I also struggle with depression and anxiety issues as a result of my renal disease. I'm sure you have dealt with some similar issues.

    I'm really glad I found your blog. To know there is another guy in a situation similar to mine lets me know that I'm not alone. I appreciate what you do. Thank you.

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  9. I felt sad for you after reading your story. You must be a strong person.
    May God Bless You.

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