by Patrick Appel
A reader writes:
One of the unspoken pitfalls of being a living donor is that, under current law, health insurers can consider your lack of a second kidney as a preexisting condition. My dad gave my brother a kidney just two years ago. He applied for new health insurance, only to be denied. My mom's health insurance still covers him, but her job as a Catholic school teacher is increasingly unstable from year to year. My dad still has a few years until Medicare kicks in, so we're all holding our breath that it my mom keeps her current job (and his current insurance) until then.
My brother will need a second transplant at some point in his life as he just turned 30. I am the other match that we found among family members. I only hope that the law has changed before my kidney is needed. I can't imagine, when the time comes, having my own children without being able to get covered by health insurance.
Until laws change and being a living donor becomes more economically feasible, then I'm afraid many tens of thousands of people will continue to die each year on the waiting list.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.