Kidney donors may face difficulty when they apply or renew their health or life insurance policies; this is despite the fact that there is no evidence that they are at increased health risks. In fact the donors are thoroughly investigated and are usually in better health than an average person to be eligible to be a donor.
The above finding comes from a new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation and suggests that actions by insurers could negatively impact the likelihood of live kidney donation
The impact of kidney donation on the ability to change or initiate health or life insurance
following donation is unknown. To investigate, Dorry Segev, MD, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and his colleagues surveyed 1046 individuals who donated a kidney 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 doing so.
Among 395 donors who changed or initiated health insurance after donation, 27 (7 percent) reported difficulty. Among those who reported difficulty, 15 were denied altogether, 12 were charged a higher premium, and eight were told they had a pre-existing condition because they were kidney donors.
Among 186 donors who changed or initiated life insurance after donation, 46 (25 percent) reported difficulty. Among those who reported difficulty, 23 were denied altogether, 27 were charged a higher premium, and 17 were told they had a pre-existing condition because they were kidney donors
The results suggest that a high proportion of kidney donors may have difficulty changing or initiating insurance, particularly life insurance. The findings also highlight the serious problems related to coverage in the fragmented health insurance system in US even though, as stated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
, insurance companies can no longer refuse health insurance to live kidney donors or charge them a higher insurance rate.
"Kidney donors are among the healthiest individuals in the population. It's such a shame that some insurance companies are giving donors a hard time, often because of a misinterpretation that the normal biological changes that occur after donation are an indication of kidney disease," said Dr. Segev. "This is a reminder that we need to remain strong advocates for our donors, and they need to remain strong advocates for themselves, educating insurance companies when these situations arise."
- The above is true also in many other countries including India. The International societies need to write to 'Insurance Regulatory Authorities' of various countries expressing their concern. If possible the WHO could also pitch in and take a stand on this issue so that the health departments of each country can influence the regulatory authorities.