MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com)- One Mid-South kidney donor says she can no longer get health insurance because of her selfless act.
Chuck Hudspeth's been selling health insurance for more than two decades. He never thought twice about how a selfless gift to his mother could effect his insurance. "I, myself, am looking at donating a kidney for my mother and I haven't given a thought to having trouble getting insurance later," he says. That's the case for many donors.
Memphis Police officer, Melanie Medlock, seen in the story on abc24.com, is covered by insurance through her employer, Hudspeth says because of HIPPA laws, it's illegal for group insurance plans to discriminate. "Guarantees the right of people to move from one employer plan to another regardless of their health or preexisting conditions," Hudspeth says, "That would not be a problem." However, if you're independently insured, it could be.
One viewer emailed abc24.com about her own family's struggle. The viewer, who didn't want to be identified, said, "My younger sister gave our nephew a kidney when he was 16 years old." Then, after losing her job, "She was turned down by a health insurance company because she had only one kidney."
Hudspeth says there could be several reasons for that, "If you donated the kidney and if you had an infection or residual problems you could be turned down, or if you had some other health issue." Hudspeth says there is always a way around that. Each state offers different plans to help people with coverage. "Tennessee has Access Tennessee for people who are uninsurable and the Federal Government has the pre-existing condition plan. If you had been uninsured for six months you can get that plan and it will cover any pre-existing conditions you have immediately, both plans are reasonably priced."
Hudspeth also reminds people, "Just because one company turns you down does not mean the next one will. You can try another insurance company."