Press release

American Kidney Fund Commends South Carolina for Passing Living Donor Protection Legislation

AKF applauds South Carolina for making living organ donor protections state law

ROCKVILLE, Md. (May 14, 2024) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) applauds South Carolina for making living organ donor protections state law with H 3255, signed on May 13 by Gov. Henry McMaster. The legislation will go into effect immediately and prohibits life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by refusing to insure them, limiting their coverage or charging them a different rate or premium based solely on their status as a living organ donor. 

The bill was introduced by state Rep. Joseph H. Jefferson, Jr. and sponsored by Reps. Patricia Moore "Pat" Henegan, Carl L. Anderson, William E. "Bill" Sandifer III, Michael F. Rivers, Sr. and Wendell G. Gilliard. A senate version of the bill, S 0644, was introduced by Sen. Brian Adams. AKF helped mobilize support for the bill in South Carolina by meeting with members of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and testifying at a Senate Insurance Subcommittee hearing. By enacting H 3255, South Carolina joins 33 other states that have passed similar legislation in recent years safeguarding these vital protections for living organ donors, thanks to AKF's efforts. 

"There are few acts more selfless than donating an organ to someone in need, and the individuals who make this decision should receive our gratitude and support," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "We extend a heartfelt thank you to Reps. Jefferson, Henegan, Anderson, Sandifer, Rivers and Gilliard, and to Sen. Adams, as well as everyone who advocated for the passage of this legislation. Their efforts will make it easier to become a living organ donor and in turn help save lives." 

Increasing living donor protections is a critical part of AKF's policy agenda. 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. Without federal legislation to protect living donors, there is an uneven patchwork of protections across the nation, with some states providing no protections at all. The average grade for the U.S. is a C. With H 3255 signed into law, South Carolina's grade improves from a C to a B. 

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 present fewer complications than deceased donor transplants and living donor organs typically survive longer than deceased donor organs.

Over 103,000 Americans are currently on the organ transplant waiting list and over 91,000 of them, or 88%, are waiting for a kidney. In South Carolina, more than 1,500 people are currently on the kidney transplant waiting list. Of the 28,144 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2023, 1 in 4 – 6,290 – were made possible by living organ donors. In South Carolina, 63 of the 531 kidney transplants performed in 2023 were from living donors. 

AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income dialysis patients. In 2023, AKF grants helped 1,615 people nationwide receive kidney transplants — roughly 6% 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 nonprofit with the greatest direct impact on people with kidney disease. AKF works on behalf of 1 in 7 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. AKF fights for kidney health for all through programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 21 consecutive years and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly known as GuideStar. 

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