Forum: Insurers must support living organ donors and cover transplant fees

Dr Terence Kee, president of the Society of Transplantation (Singapore), urged the Singapore community to support both deceased and living organ donation so that Singapore can meet the needs of a growing waiting list of patients needing a kidney or liver transplant (Turning to black market for organ transplants not worth the risks, June 22).

Based on my experience, this support is crucial and must also come from institutions such as insurance companies.

My husband was a dialysis patient for nearly 15 years and, last year, received a kidney from my daughter as a living donor.

However, when my daughter tried to claim her medical bills from her insurer, her claim was rejected.

The reasons given were that she had bought her policy in 2006 but the living donor organ transplant benefit was added only in 2007, and that the organ recipient was deemed to have a pre-existing kidney condition at the time her policy came into effect.

We are not convinced by the insurer's argument because it has been increasing its policy premiums periodically, informing policyholders of benefit enhancements for which they are entitled to be covered. These enhanced benefits cover living donor transplants.

If she has been paying these higher premiums all this while, why is she not being covered under one of those enhanced benefits now?

Also, as she is submitting her claim as a living donor and not the recipient, why does the recipient's "pre-existing condition" clause apply to her?

The insurer paid the hospital only the amount that MediShield Life would have covered.

If insurance companies are not prepared to cover the medical bills of living donors, would that not be another important consideration for living donors when it comes to organ transplantation?

Theresa Tan Mui Kim

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