Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) co-sponsored legislation to protect the rights of living organ donors. The Living Donor Protection Act would shield living donors from high insurance premiums, codify Department of Labor guidance that covers living donors under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in the private and civil service, remove barriers to organ donation, and provide certainty to donors and recipients.
“Living organ donors make a tremendous personal sacrifice in order to save lives and improve the quality of life of those in critical need of a new organ,” said Senator Collins. “We must do our part by ensuring these selfless individuals do not face insurance discrimination or other burdensome obstacles. The Living Donor Protection Act would protect organ donors from higher insurance premiums and promote donation efforts.”
Organ donation saves thousands of lives every year, but roadblocks remain that too often stop individuals from becoming living donors. According to a 2014 study in the American Journal of Transplantation, as many as 27 percent of living organ donors experience difficulty securing or paying for insurance after their procedures. Others face job loss after taking required time off to recover from their donation surgery.
The Living Donor Protection Act would protect living organ donors and promote organ donation in three ways:
1) Prohibit life, disability, and long-term care insurance companies from denying or limiting coverage and from charging higher premiums for living organ donors;
2) Amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to specifically include living organ donation as a serious health condition for private and civil service employees; and
3) Direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to update their materials on live organ donation to reflect these new protections and encourage more individuals to consider donating an organ.
The bill has support from numerous groups that advocate on behalf of organ transplantation, including endorsements from the National Kidney Foundation, American Kidney Fund, the American Council of Life Insurers, American Society of Transplantation, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, American Society of Nephrology, Greater New York Hospital Association, LiveOnNY, Alport Syndrome Foundation, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American Liver Foundation, American Nephrology Nurses Association, American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, Dialysis Patient Citizens, IGA Nephropathy Foundation, Improving Renal Outcomes Collaborative, and LifeGift.
Click HERE to read a summary of the bill.