Insurance Coordinator Leslie Nickeson has been helping people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) understand their insurance and financial assistance options for over 30 years. This includes ensuring patients follow through with the insurance application process, acting as a liaison between them and local insurance agents, and talking to social workers as well as other centers on their behalf. With Fresenius Kidney Care’s resources, Nickeson provides her patients with solutions that make receiving the care they need possible.
Working for a large dialysis company that focuses on patient care helps Nickeson carry out her responsibilities. This level of support was an aspect of her job she was looking forward to from the beginning. “When I first started working here, I was told, ‘Fresenius is a great company. You don’t have a thing to worry about,’” she says. “That made me feel like my patients and I were going to be in great hands.”
Along with helping patients make informed decisions to support their kidney health, Fresenius Kidney Care provides a stable work environment for employees. This empowered Nickeson to become the insurance coordinator for eight clinics in California, including the one she’s been with since 1990.
Nickeson has been able to help patients cover the cost of dialysis for over three decades because she’s passionate about helping people with CKD. “You have to have heart and put yourself in their shoes to get them through these times,” she says.
Some of Nickeson’s patients have lost their jobs, are unsure of which plans are available to them, or don’t work, but she’s there to educate them on their options and find solutions. This often includes determining whether they’re eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. Every patient’s situation is different, and Nickeson has to familiarize herself with each one to identify which plan is best. She assesses what they’re eligible for by learning if they work, how often they work, what assets they have, and if they have a spouse who works.
However, her job doesn’t end there. If needed, Nickeson will stay in touch with insurance providers to confirm they’re processing her patients’ applications and answering any questions they may have. Nickeson is also there to reassure patients that she and the rest of their care team will be there for them, like she recently did for a patient who unexpectedly needed treatment. “One young girl who I was talking to on the phone not long ago was so scared to go on dialysis,” Nickeson says. “I made sure she knew we would be there for her. It was important for her to hear she was going to be in good hands.”
Nickeson’s enthusiasm for providing patients what they need has never wavered. “I just love it,” she says. “There’s something so rewarding about helping people and hearing how thankful they are. It is a great feeling when you can help navigate somebody through such a scary time.”
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