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Posts Tagged ‘How you can help’

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, Transplant Alliance offers this sample letter:

(Date)
The Honorable (add Senator’s full name)
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC

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 remove barriers to live organ donation by
eliminating the fear of losing access to affordable private health care
insurance when becoming a live organ donor.

There are currently over 109,000 people on the nation’s waiting lists
for donor organs and over 6,000 Americans die each year waiting for a
donated organ. We must to do what we can to increase live organ
donation. 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. The fear of
losing access to affordable health care insurance can be a major barrier
to potential live organ donors when contemplating this gift of life.

Live organ donors are a very low health care risk. 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.

Sincerely,
Name
Title
Organization
Address

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Here’s a great way to spend 60 seconds of your time between now and next Monday, September 1:  Support this terrific project that organ donation hero Lyn has pitched to American Express’ annual “Members Project” grant contest.  Each year Amex asks, “If you had a chance, how would you make a real difference?” So far this year, 1,190 project ideas have been submitted by real people with real stories.  American Express cardholders can nominate these projects, and in the end, Amex will choose a handful of worthy projects to share in a $2.5 million grant.  Each nomination pushes Lyns’ project further into “finalist” category — let’s help get her there!

You can nominate Lyn’s project, “Second Chances: Mobile Organ Donation Awareness” if you log in to the American Express Web site.  I believe you have to be an Amex cardholder to do this.  Here’s some of Lyn’s story, in her words:

My niece, Melissa, who has been fighting an unrelenting battle with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) for 18 years, was blessed to receive two double lung transplants in her short life of 18 years. Melissa is well-aware that for many others this is not the case, as she has watched 7 friends with CF pass on while awaiting organs.

Please nominate Melissa’s project by clicking on this link and please forward this to as many people as possible. Our goal is 5000 nominations! The Nomination deadline is September 1!

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