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Organ Donors May Lose Medical Insurance

Organ Donors May Lose Medical Insurance

Donating a kidney may render your medical insurance useless…

Officials are calling for new legislation after hearing how people who donated kidneys,have been slammed with huge medical bills, because having one kidney constitutes a preexisting condition under which coverage is denied.

organ donor stung with huge medical bills Organ Donors May Lose Medical InsuranceIn one case, Philip Knisely, 53, of Austin, Texas, donated a kidney to a co-worker a year ago. He has since received more than $18,000 in related medical bills. Knisely said he was not informed that if he ever lost his employment-related insurance, insurers might consider his having a single kidney an uninsurable pre-existing condition

James Pittman, transplant program director at North Austin Medical Center where the transplant was done, said organ donors are told that having one kidney may be a preexisting condition affecting insurance, but there is no documentation, they are simply told orally.

As Congress debates reform of the healthcare system, it should require Medicare to ascertain that donors are covered, as provided by a 1972 law, regardless of states’ conflicting policies, said Donna Luebke, a cardiology nurse practitioner at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, a kidney donor and nationwide advocate for living donors.

Luebke urges legislation prohibiting insurers from discriminating against donors for having “preexisting conditions.”

Some advocates also want a living-donor registry so it is easier to track them and any future medical problems they may have. Luebke said:

“Right now it is the issue for living donors in this country, I know of donors who have paid thousands of dollars out of pocket for complications.”

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