HB 75 provides living organ donors with insurance protections, improving Kentucky's grade on AKF's Living Donor Protection Report Card
ROCKVILLE, Md. (March 23, 2021) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) commends Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear for signing HB 75, the Living Donor Protection Act of 2021, into law. The bill will prohibit life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by charging higher premiums or denying them coverage.
"Governor Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly have taken a critical step toward removing barriers to living organ donation," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "HB 75 will ensure that Kentucky residents won't face discrimination by insurers for giving someone a lifesaving organ. We applaud Kentucky for passing this law and hope that it will lead to more people deciding to be living organ donors in the state — ultimately shortening the transplant waiting list."
AKF worked closely with sponsors Representative Jerry Miller (R-36) and Representative Shawn McPherson (R-22) to move this bill through the Kentucky General Assembly. AKF is leading a nationwide effort to pass living donor protections at the state level. Kentucky is the first state to enact such legislation this year, joining the 12 other states that have put these protections into place since 2019, thanks to legislation spearheaded by AKF.
HB 75 is the second living donor protection legislation signed into law in Kentucky. It will move the state up from a D grade to a C on AKF's annual State of the States: Living Donor Protection Report Card. AKF's Report Card, which was released in February, identifies seven different categories of publicly reported legislation in each U.S. state and the District of Columbia that protect living donors and encourage living organ donation. 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.
Most transplanted organs are 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 have fewer complications than deceased-donor transplants and a longer survival of the donor organ.
There are 108,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list and 93,000 of them, or 86%, are waiting for a kidney. In Kentucky, more than 750 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list. Of the 23,644 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2020, just 5,234 were made possible by living organ donors. In Kentucky, just 39 of 216 kidney transplants were from living donors.
Among its many programs, AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income kidney failure patients. In 2020, AKF's assistance made 1,615 transplants possible — 7% of all kidney transplants performed in the U.S. 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.