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Kidney Donation Hampers Changes to Insurance

Difficulty particularly seen among those changing, initiating life insurance

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FRIDAY, July 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A high proportion of kidney donors report difficulty changing or initiating insurance, according to a study published online July 16 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Brian J. Boyarsky, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues surveyed 1,046 individuals who donated a kidney at a single institution between 1970 and 2011. The authors sought to determine if donors changed or initiated health or life insurance after donation, and if they had any difficulty doing so.

The researchers found that, of the 395 donors who changed or initiated health insurance after donation, 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 preexisting condition because they were kidney donors. One-quarter of the 186 donors who changed or initiated life insurance after donation reported difficulty. Among those who reported difficulty, 23 were denied altogether, 27 were charged a higher premium, and 17 were told they had a preexisting condition because they were kidney donors.

"These practices by insurers create unnecessary burden and stress for those choosing to donate and could negatively impact the likelihood of live kidney donation among those considering donation," the authors write.

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