Urge your reps to sponsor living organ donor protection act

by Anne Huml MD, Center for Health Equity Engagement Education and Research Researcher & Nephrologist

The National Kidney Foundation is asking anyone with an interest in protecting living organ donors and  removing barriers to donation to send this letter to your congressional representatives urging them to co-sponsor H.R. HR1224/S511, the Living Donor Protection Act.  This bill will protect living organ donors and remove barriers to donation by prohibiting insurance companies from denying or limiting life, disability and long term care insurance to living donors, and from charging higher premiums. The bill also clarifies that living organ donors may use time granted through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to recover from donation.

Many individuals have experienced higher premiums or denial of coverage insurance based solely on their status as a living organ donor. The risks of living kidney donation are minimal and while long-term effects on donors need further study, most kidney donors go on to live normal healthy lives after organ donation.  There is no medical evidence to suggest that insurance companies are at increased financial risk for covering living donors and therefore companies should not charge higher premiums nor deny or limit coverage just because the individual donated an organ.  Fear of lack of insurance protection, higher premiums, and loss of job are barriers for someone who wants to donate an organ.