COLUMBUS – Ohio joins 14 other states in protecting living organ donors from discrimination by insurance companies with the enactment of House Bill 188, Wednesday.
The legislation, sponsored by State Representatives Brian Lampton (R-Beavercreek) and Jon Cross (R- Kenton), will prohibit insurance companies from denying or limiting disability insurance, life insurance, or long-term care insurance to living organ donors. It will also prohibit charging higher premiums based solely on a person’s status as a living organ donor.
“It is important we do everything we can to encourage individuals to donate lifesaving organs, which includes access to coverage,” said Lampton. “Lack of insurance protection and higher premiums are barriers for those wanting to donate life-saving organs.”
According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Database, there are 7,360 living organ donors in Ohio. Prior to HB 188, it was legal for these individuals to be denied disability insurance, life insurance, and long-term care insurance based solely on their status as a living organ donor.
Cross says House Bill 188 is not only a win for organ donors, but also a win for fiscal responsibility.
“Each year, Medicare spends $87,000 per dialysis patient,” said Cross. “It cost $32,500 for a transplant patient, less than half the cost of dialysis. There is no fiscal impact to the State of Ohio because it will only result in policy changes for insurance companies, so this legislation is a common sense approach to protect donors.”
Per the Ohio Constitution, HB 188 will go into effect 90 days after receiving the Governor’s signature.