Bill protecting insurance for living organ donors heads to Minnesota Senate – Reuters

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ST. PAUL — A bill that would provide protections for organ and bone marrow donors from discrimination by insurance companies is expected to come to the Minnesota Senate this week for a vote.

If enacted, the legislation will prohibit life insurance, long-term care insurance or disability insurance companies from denying or limiting coverage to living organ or marrow donors. The Affordable Care Act already prevents health insurers from discriminating against living tissue and organ donors, but other forms of insurance don’t have the same federal protections.

Rep. Kaohly Vang Her, DFL-St. Paul, who introduced a version of the bill in the House of Representatives, said the issue was personal as she was diagnosed with kidney disease as a teenager. Eventually, she will need a transplant to live, she says. Fewer barriers for living donors could make it easier for patients to find a kidney.

Rep. Kaohly Vang Her, DFL-St. Paul

“We are protecting our heroes, the living donors, who have given the gift of life selflessly by donating their kidneys or other organs to support people’s lives,” she said ahead of a vote in the floor on the bill Tuesday evening, May 17.

The bill passed 126-8 in the House and has a companion bill in the Senate. The office of the sponsor of this bill, Republican Senator from Park Rapids Paul Utke, expects a vote by the end of this week. The bill would then head to Governor Tim Walz’s office for his signature.

According to the American Society of Transplantation, most living kidney donors have no difficulty obtaining or maintaining life insurance, but the costs can sometimes increase when looking for a new plan. Living liver donors may have a harder time buying a new policy because data on the procedure is limited, the group said.

Chronic kidney disease affects one in seven adults and the only permanent treatment is a transplant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A fifth of Medicare spending covers treatment for chronic kidney disease, and if a patient receives a transplant before needing dialysis, it can save an average of $450,000 in medical bills, said Jen Anderson, a kidney donor at the National Kidney Foundation at a House Commerce Committee. hearing in March.

“By reducing the barriers faced by kidney donors, we can increase the number of living donors and reduce healthcare costs for private employers and Medicare,” Anderson said.

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