Living organ donors have a hard time finding health insurance

Pre-Existing Health InsuranceLiving organ donors are facing some major challenges when it comes to obtaining insurance coverage. Organ donation can often be a tricky subject. Donation isn’t often associated with organs coming from a living patient, but rather one that is recently deceased. Living donors are commonplace, providing a kidney or a part of their liver to those in need.

Many health insurers are now claiming that organ donation is equivalent to a pre-existing condition, making affordable coverage a real issue for living donors.

While insurers are barred from explicitly denying coverage based on the prevalence of pre-existing conditions thanks to the Affordable Care Act, they can still cut plans that cover complications that may arrive post-surgery. They can also charge more for coverage based on the inherent risk factors of living donors.

Organ transplant is not an issue that is taken lightly in the medical world. Donors are subject to the absolute highest standards of health and wellness both physically and mentally. If there is ever the slightest doubt regarding the results of any of their tests, the donors are dismissed outright. “These patients are handpicked,” says Matthey Cooper, directors of kidney transplantation at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. “They’re some of the healthiest people around.”

Trouble obtaining affordable coverage is not usually the first thing on the mind of a living donor. The provisions of the Affordable Care Act that would protect living donors from being denied coverage won’t come into effect until 2014. Until then, donors are encouraged to take part in state-run insurance programs or those tailored specifically for those with chronic conditions.

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