fbpx

New Michigan law protects health coverage for living organ donors

Malinda Herrera of Lansing donated part of her liver in August to help a colleague’s spouse.

Legislation should remove financial fears for those considering helping others

Gift of Life Michigan celebrates the passage of a law that prevents health insurers from denying or limiting coverage for living organ donors in this state.

Sen. Kevin Hertel sponsored the measure (SB 384), which passed both the Michigan House and Senate and was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

A person can work with a Michigan transplant center to donate a kidney or a portion of their liver to help someone waiting for a lifesaving transplant. The vast majority of organ transplants come from deceased organ donors, and that is facilitated by Gift of Life, the state’s organ and tissue donation program, along with those transplant centers.

Dorrie Dils, president and CEO of Gift of Life Michigan“Living donors are absolute heroes,” said Dorrie Dils, president and CEO of Gift of Life. “They deserve our protection and respect. We hope this legislation will remove the fear that insurance won’t cover costs for anyone considering becoming a living donor.”

The law specifically prohibits insurers from denying or limiting life, health or long-term care insurance because someone decides to be a living donor.

More than 2,400 Michiganders are waiting for a life-saving organ and nearly 2,000 of them — 80% — need a kidney transplant. About 16,000 kidney patients are lingering on dialysis and would benefit from a kidney transplant.

Close to 200 people in Michigan are waiting for liver transplants. Malinda Herrera of Lansing donated part of her liver in August to help a colleague’s spouse. She worked with the transplant program at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. Herrera said her medical expenses were covered in full.

“The burden came from unpaid time off work,” Herrera said. “For me, it was a leap of faith, but it’s definitely something that had to be taken into consideration. It felt like such an amazing privilege to offer hope to another human.

“I could never have anticipated the fulfillment I would gain from being a living donor.”

In addition to this new law, the state announced on Nov. 1 that all state employees — more than 50,000 — can now receive up to 60 days of paid time off for living donation, but that policy doesn’t cover all Michiganders.

“Those who choose to donate a part of themselves to improve the health of a fellow Michigander represent the best of us,” Gov. Whitmer said. “I’m proud that we are taking action to make sure they can take the time they need for the procedure without sacrificing their paycheck.”

Read more in the LifeLINES newsletter

Read More Posts
sunset colors and a cross

Can Catholics Donate Organs?

The tenets of the Catholic faith are something many adhere to. But at times, these…

Read More
Group of patients waiting for organ transplants carrying a banner reading "Waiting to Live" along the Capitol sidewalk

Check Your Heart Rally at State Capitol encourages next generation to donate life

Hundreds expected in support of organ, eye and tissue donation on June 12 Hundreds of…

Read More
May was a record month with 197 tissue donors

Gift of Life Michigan has record-breaking month

197 people gave tissue in May to heal patients in need May was a record-breaking…

Read More
Gift of life. two hands holding kidneys.

Long-term Effects of Kidney Donation

The decision to donate a kidney as a living donor should not be taken lightly,…

Read More
More than 12,000 people joined the Michigan Organ Donor Registry this year while filing their income tax returns.

Michigan Organ Donor Registry sees major growth thanks to Check Your Heart Act

More than 12,000 new registrants added during 2024 tax season Thanks to the Check Your…

Read More
Anna Malnar with her mother, Patricia Laughlin. Patricia became an organ, eye and tissue donor after her passing.

A Mother’s Gift

In December 2023, Patricia Laughlin was diagnosed with PCP pneumonia. Patricia had previously been diagnosed…

Read More
Scroll to Top