Kidney donors reveal shocking insurance problems

Lana Bandoim's picture
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A new kidney can save a person’s life, but donors have revealed they are encountering insurance problems after choosing to help. A study published in the American Journal of Transplantation points out that donors have been unfairly labeled by insurance companies and are stuck paying higher premiums. Despite claims that they are not targeting donors, the statistics reveal a different story.

Kidney donors labeled as high risk by insurance companies

Although they are healthy, the new study reveals that kidney donors are considered a high risk by insurance companies, and 25 percent of the people in the group included in the research faced issues with life insurance while 7 percent had issues with health insurance. They generally had problems that could be categorized into three areas: denial of insurance, high premiums and incorrect labeling of health conditions.

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Some kidney donors were surprised to learn that their insurance companies labeled their decision to help another person as a pre-existing health condition. Although the Affordable Care Act prevents companies from denying them health coverage now, donors still complain about extra paperwork, and life insurance is not covered by the law. They continue to experience problems related to their donation.

Health insurance and life insurance problems for kidney donors

The donors encountered problems with both health insurance and life insurance after giving one of their kidneys. However, medical professionals point out kidney donors must pass rigorous tests to prove they are healthy before a hospital would even consider surgery. The Affordable Care Act has helped in the health insurance area by stopping companies from using their previous tactics. Unfortunately, life insurance falls into a separate category, so these companies can continue to frustrate donors. Researchers hope insurance companies will change their practices and recognize the efforts of kidney donors instead of punishing them.

Image: BruceBlaus/Wikimedia Commons

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