Today is day 2 of National Kidney Month. Maybe you are at risk of getting CKD or were just diagnosed, and you do not have any health insurance. This can be a daunting feeling as you will need regular medical monitoring moving forward. There are some options, that may be helpful, and I am going to go through them. The #1 thing you can do, in my opinion, is to make the lifestyle changes necessary to help you either prevent getting CKD or prevent the progression of CKD for as long as possible.
As you know, I have CKD. You can read my history all the way back to the beginning of this blog. I was underinsured for many years of my adult life, some by choice, and some not. I truly feel my kidney disease could have been diagnosed many years earlier than it was had I been under proper medical supervision. I am very fortunate now, and for the last 10 years or so to have very good insurance. Before Obamacare, or the ACA as its technical name, pre-existing conditions, and many other limitations were put onto the American people via the health care industry. It made lower income families much harder to afford needed medical care, even just basic prevention. I feel like a yearly urine test falls under prevention for CKD.
Here are some options to consider if you are underinsured, or uninsured, but may be at risk for CKD, or already have it.
- You could buy urine dipstick test strips and monitor protein in your urine. These are available online and at drug stores. Just be sure to follow the directions to get accurate results.
- Many clinics and labs offer a sliding scale fee for those eligible.
- Care Credit is a credit card for medical care. Of course, you have to apply and be approved, and pay it back with interest. We actually have used this for pet care, and when my son needed very expensive dental surgery.
- Health Savings Plans. I don’t feel like these would work well for someone who is only making minimum wage, but I also don’t know much about them. My husband had one and after a year it had 150 dollars in it and he bought new glasses. So, maybe more of a supplemental thing.
- KEEP Healthy from the National Kidney Foundation. This is a free screening done for the public. You have to visit the screening site. If you are at risk for CKD you can get the urine screening for free. The other items in the screening are available to everyone who visits.
- Since pre-existing conditions can no longer be excluded if you are uninsured and find out you have CKD you could sign up for your employer-based health insurance. Of course, this most likely will not be free. There used to be a time when employers would offer health insurance to single adults for free, I remember, but I am pretty sure not many do anymore. Yes, I am old, lol.
- Florida actually has a pretty extensive Medicaid Insurance Plan. There are 3 options for adults, and one for children call CHIP. If you are not a senior, disabled, or a child the requirements to be approved are pretty stiff. You can read more here, and here.
- You can visit a Community Health Center. I am in a rural area, but when I looked up my zip code, down at the bottom of this page, there are actually several near enough to me should I even need this option. These health centers are in rural areas and underserved areas.
- Another option is your local Public Health Center. They may not be able to manage your CKD, but you may be able to get some prevention tests for free and counseling as to where to get affordable health care.
- The last option and I find this kind of depressing is Medicare. It doesn’t feel like there is a lot of hope for underinsured, and uninsured people at risk and with CKD. Once you reach stage 5 you can sign up for Medicare despite your age. Stage 5 is considered End Stage Renal Disease. Medicare covers 80% of medical costs. So, you would still have to pay the other 20%. I found this webinar from AKF on Youtube. I encourage you to watch it.
My disclaimer is short and sweet. Nothing on this blog is intended to be medical advice. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.