The Living Donor Protection Act of 2021 (H.R.1255/S.377) would ensure that living organ donors have Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections so they can take time off work to donate the kidney and recover from the surgery without fear of losing their job. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter in 2018 which stated that organ donation is protected under FMLA. The Living Donor Protection Act would codify the DOL opinion, protecting under federal statute those living donors whose employers are covered under FMLA.
Importantly, the bill would also protect living donors from discrimination by insurance carriers and prohibits insurers from:
Declining or limiting coverage of a person under any life insurance policy, disability insurance policy, or long-term care insurance policy due to the person's living donor status; Preventing a person from donating all or part of an organ as a condition of receiving a life insurance policy, disability insurance policy, or long-term care insurance policy; Considering the fact that a person is a living organ donor when determining the premium amount.
Finally, the bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to update its website, brochures, and other media regarding live donation and access to insurance for living donors.
The American Kidney Fund recently released State of the States: Living Donor Protection Report Card. The Report Card is our annual assessment of how well laws in each state and the District of Columbia encourage living organ donation and reduce barriers for living organ donors; unfortunately, many states did not get a passing grade and the nationwide average grade was a D. If passed, this federal legislation would ensure every state has a basic level of protection — so that where a person lives does not make it more difficult to be a living donor.
Please contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators to ask them to cosponsor the Living Donor Protection Act that will ensure that individuals who give the gift of life are protected from discrimination and are encouraged to help those in desperate need.