HB1284/SB705 prevents insurance discrimination and guarantees job-protected leave to living donors
ROCKVILLE, Md. (May 13, 2019) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) commends Maryland Governor Larry Hogan for signing into law important protections for living organ donors that could help make more organs available for Maryland residents waiting for transplants. The law prevents insurance companies from discriminating against living organ donors by charging higher premiums or refusing to insure them altogether, and also provides job protected leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to people who chose to make this lifesaving gift.
AKF is grateful to Delegate Eric Luedtke and Senator Brian Feldman for sponsoring HB1284/SB705, and for their work in getting it through the legislature and onto the governor's desk. Earlier this year, AKF president and CEO LaVarne A. Burton and AKF employee Shayla Harris — the recipient of a kidney donated by her sister — testified in Annapolis in support of this important legislation.
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. More than 6,400 living-donor kidney transplants were performed last year in the United States, including 170 in Maryland. Kidneys are the most common organ transplanted from living donors, followed by liver and lung.
Nationwide, more than 114,000 Americans are on the waiting list for organ transplants, including nearly 97,000 who are waiting for a kidney. In Maryland, 2,500 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list.
"Governor Hogan's signature on this bill is an important step that helps remove barriers that can prevent Maryland residents from considering being living organ donors, and we are grateful to him for his support," Burton said. "We applaud the governor and the legislature for recognizing that living organ donors deserve more than our gratitude and giving them protections under the law."
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.