By Abrigul Lutfalieva
A new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation suggests that actions by insurers may create unnecessary burden and stress for those choosing to donate and could negatively impact the likelihood of living kidney donation. The impact of living kidney donation on the ability to change or initiate health or life insurance is not clear.
Dorry Segev, MD, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and his colleagues surveyed 1046 individuals who donated kidneys at their center between 1970 and 2011. Participants were asked whether they changed or initiated health or life insurance after donation, and if they had any difficulty during this procedure. Among 395 donors who changed or initiated health insurance after donation, 27 (7 %) reported difficulties. Among them, 15 were denied health insurance, 12 were charged a higher premium, and 8 were told they had a pre-existing condition because they were kidney donors.
The study highlights the serious problems related to health and life insurance coverage in the nation’s fragmented health care system even though, as stated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, insurance companies should no longer refuse health insurance to live kidney donors or charge them a higher insurance rate.
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