Health Insurance Trends in United States Living Kidney Donors (2004 to 2015)

Am J Transplant. 2016 Dec;16(12):3504-3511. doi: 10.1111/ajt.13827. Epub 2016 May 23.


Some transplant programs consider the lack of health insurance as a contraindication to living kidney donation. Still, prior studies have shown that many adults are uninsured at time of donation. We extend the study of donor health insurance status over a longer time period and examine associations between insurance status and relevant sociodemographic and health characteristics. We queried the United Network for Organ Sharing/Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network registry for all living kidney donors (LKDs) between July 2004 and July 2015. Of the 53 724 LKDs with known health insurance status, 8306 (16%) were uninsured at the time of donation. Younger (18 to 34 years old), male, minority, unemployed, less educated, unmarried LKDs and those who were smokers and normotensive were more likely to not have health insurance at the time of donation. Compared to those with no health risk factors (i.e. obesity, smoking, hypertension, estimated glomerular filtration rate <60, proteinuria) (14%), LKDs with 1 (18%) or ≥2 (21%) health risk factors at the time of donation were more likely to be uninsured (p < 0.0001). Among those with ≥2 health risk factors, blacks (28%) and Hispanics (27%) had higher likelihood of being uninsured compared to whites (19%; p < 0.001). Study findings underscore the importance of providing health insurance benefits to all previous and future LKDs.

Keywords: donors and donation; donors and donation: living, insurance; ethics and public policy; health services and outcomes research; kidney transplantation/nephrology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / trends*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / economics*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / economics*
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / economics*
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / economics*
  • Young Adult