Alert
Close

Take AARP’s Smart Driver course and you could save money on your car insurance. Learn more

HIGHLIGHTS

Close

2014 NATIONAL EVENT

Health & Wellness
AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

LEARNING centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.


Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

share your Thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

What an Outrage

Donate a Kidney, Lose Health Insurance

You may have trouble getting private insurance if you're an organ donor

health encyclopedia tool

Health Encyclopedia

Find health information about medical conditions, symptoms and medical procedures.

How can a perfectly healthy father donate a kidney to his daughter and then be turned down for health insurance on the grounds that he has a preexisting condition?

Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter.

Radburn Royer, 57, donated a kidney to his daughter and is now being denied health coverage.

Radburn Royer lost private health insurance after donating a kidney. — Jenn Ackerman

That's what happened to Radburn Royer, 57, a retired high school teacher in Aitkin, Minn. His daughter, Erika, 31, was on dialysis three times a week because of kidney failure from lupus. "I had to help her," he says.

So, like any potential organ donor, Royer was carefully screened, found to be healthy and allowed to donate a kidney to his daughter, who is no longer on dialysis.

But now, Royer can't get private health insurance. Instead he buys coverage from the state's Comprehensive Health Association high-risk pool, which costs him $130 more a month and has a higher deductible.

Before his daughter's transplant, four years ago, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota provided Royer's health insurance. But it rejected his application for coverage last year and has turned down several appeals. The reason: "chronic kidney disease." Blue Cross and Blue Shield cites the higher than normal creatinine levels in his blood, Royer says. Creatinine is an indicator of how well a kidney is functioning, and donors tend to have higher levels.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield declined to comment on Royer's case but said a person with one kidney who tests within normal ranges would be a strong candidate for coverage.

Unfortunately, Royer's dilemma probably won't be resolved until 2014. That's when provisions in the new health care law take effect to prevent insurers from denying coverage due to preexisting conditions.

You may also like:

Remember to go to the AARP home page every day for great deals and for tips on keeping healthy and sharp.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Video Extra

Dr. Lawrence Dorr offers free hip replacements to low-income patients through Operation Walk, a volunteer medical services organization.

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Woman trying on glasses in optometrists shop

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at JCPenney Optical.

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

AngiesList

Members can save 25% to 45% on their Angie's List membership.

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.