U.S. Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) and Representative Joe Courtney (D- CT) have introduced legislation to prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions in group health plans and in health insurance coverage for groups and individuals. For living organ donors, this is important news, because health insurance plans can and do consider living donation to be an “pre-existing condition” that may impact a donor’s ability to secure health insurance and the cost of premiums.
Called the Pre-Existing Condition Patient Protection Act of 2009, the legislation is being supported by a who’s who list of organ-transplant-related non-profits: The National Kidney Foundation, The American Society of Transplant Surgeons, NATCO – the Organization for Transplant Professionals, and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
To get informed, check out govtrack.us, where you can read the full text of the bill, track its movement through the House and Senate and read the floor speeches made about it. Here are the links directly to the House and Senate versions:
If you wish to write your Congressional representatives, you can look them up at www.senate.gov and writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml, both of which offer convenient email forms as well as mail and fax information.
For those who want to support the legislation, here’s a sample letter:
The Honorable (add Senator’s full name)
Re: Preexisting Condition Patient Protection Act of 2009
Dear Senator (add Senator’s name)
(I or your organization) request that you support the Act introduced by Congressman Joe Courtney, and Senator John Rockefeller titled “Preexisting Condition Patient Protection Act of 2009?. This Act will prohibit preexisting condition exclusions in group health plans and health insurance coverage in the group and individual markets, including live organ donation. It will eliminate the real fear of losing access to affordable private health care insurance when becoming a live organ donor.
Pre-existing condition exclusions dramatically increase the cost of health insurance for these altruistic live donors, or have the impact of rendering the person uninsurable altogether.
It is time that the federal government prohibits private health insurers and self-insured health plans from treating live organ donors as having a pre-existing condition. Removing live organ donation as a pre-existing condition is a necessary component of health care reform.
(you or your organizations name here) appreciate(s) your consideration of this request to support this Act that will prohibit live organ donation from being considered a preexisting conditions. Thank you.