Background: Previous studies concluded that healthy kidney donors should be able to obtain life insurance at standard rates. However, we have become aware of a few donors for whom this was not the case. Clearly, this important issue needs to be readdressed.
Methods: To investigate how American life insurance companies currently view and treat living kidney donors, we mailed a survey to the medical directors of 70 U.S. life insurance companies in the winter of 2001; we included the 20 largest companies ranked by assets.
Results: Thirty-eight companies, including 16 of the top 20, chose to participate. All of them said they would offer life insurance to a healthy kidney donor and only one believed it might raise the premium. Only one company thought that kidney donation might adversely affect longevity, and a majority of the companies did not consider healthy donors to be at increased risk for future medical problems.
Conclusions: These data suggest that most life insurance companies are still willing to insure healthy kidney donors at standard rates. Nevertheless, occasional donors may encounter difficulty when applying for life insurance. When this occurs, transplant centers should be prepared to help the donor obtain insurance.