Pete Aguilar

As a U.S. Senator, Jeff works hard to improve health insurance coverage, especially for his most vulnerable constituents.

Pete Aguilar was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in May 2016. An ESRD diagnosis means that the kidneys no longer perform well enough to meet the body’s needs and, in order to survive, ESRD patients require a kidney transplant within three years. Mr. Aguilar was initially put on a transplant list, but was taken off in August 2018 when he was unable to show sufficient coverage for the costs of a transplant surgery. Mr. Aguilar tried to find out why his insurance would not cover his procedure, and was told that Medicare could only cover part of his surgery expenses, and that his private insurer would not pay the remaining costs until after a two-and-a-half-year waiting period—far too long for Mr. Aguilar to wait to get on the list.

In the following weeks, Mr. Aguilar wife Tina worked hard in addition to her full time job, to raise $6,000 through a GoFundMe campaign. Though an impressive amount, the $6,000 was still far short of the $28,000 required for the surgery.

At this point, Mr. and Mrs. Aguilar were getting desperate, and Mrs. Aguilar decided to reach out to Jeff’s office seeking help in getting her husband back on the transplant list. After learning about the situation, Jeff’s team helped Mr. Aguilar file an appeal to his insurance provider to waive the waiting period.

In November 2018, the appeal was granted, the insurance provider agreed to cover the surgery expenses, and Mr. Aguilar was put back on the list for a kidney transplant. The Aguilars shared their gratitude for the help that Jeff’s team was able to offer, their relief that Mr. Aguilar was put back on the list, and that they no longer had to worry about paying out-of-pocket for the cost of the surgery.