ROCKVILLE, Md. (April 28, 2022) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) applauds Delaware for enacting important protections for living organ donors. Gov. John Carney has signed S.B. 218, which prohibits life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by denying them coverage or charging them higher premiums solely due to their status as an organ donor.
AKF is grateful to Sen. Ernesto Lopez (SD 6) for introducing the bill in the Delaware Senate, as well as primary bill cosponsors in the House, Speaker Peter Schwartzkopf (RD 14) and Reps. Sherry Dorsey Walker (RD 3) and Stephen Smyk (RD 20), and thanks them for their commitment to encouraging living organ donation.
"Donating an organ is one of the most selfless acts a person can take. Saving someone's life through living organ donation should never mean being denied, charged more for or losing, life, disability or long-term care insurance coverage," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "By prohibiting discriminatory insurance practices against living organ donors, S.B. 218 removes barriers to living organ donation and makes more transplants possible. This legislation will increase the number of kidneys and other organs available for the thousands of Delawareans awaiting transplantation."
AKF is leading the effort to enact protections for living organ donors in states across the country. In passing S.B. 218, Delaware becomes the 25th state to enact living donor protections in recent years, thanks to AKF's efforts.
AKF's State of the States: Living Donor Protection Report Card measures seven types of legislation states should enact to provide protections for living organ donors and encourage living donations. In the absence of federal legislation to protect living donors, there is an uneven patchwork of protections across the nation, with some states providing no protections at all. S.B. 218 is the second living donor protection law enacted in Delaware, and it moves the state's Report Card grade from a D to a C.
Most transplanted organs come from deceased donors, but patients may also receive organs from living donors. Living donation offers an alternative for individuals awaiting transplantation from a deceased donor and increases the existing organ supply. Transplants from living donors generally present fewer complications than deceased donor transplants and living donor organs typically survive longer than deceased donor organs.
There are more than 106,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list and 92,000 of them, or 87%, are waiting for a kidney. In Delaware, 150 of 154 people currently on the transplant waiting list are waiting for a kidney. Of the 25,490 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2021, about 1 in 5 — 5,971 — were made possible by living organ donors. In Delaware, eight of 32 kidney transplants performed in 2021 were from living donors. AKF is hopeful that the protections in S.B. 218 will make it possible for a greater number of Delawareans to become living donors.
AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income dialysis patients. In 2021, AKF grants helped 1,889 people nationwide receive kidney transplants — 7% of all kidney transplants performed in the United States last year. AKF's program helps post-transplant patients for their full insurance plan year, ensuring continuity of care.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.