TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A bill created to ensure living organ donors do not lose some or all of their health insurance benefits has been signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The bill cleared both chambers of the Florida Legislature other than the ‘nay’ of a single senator. There were no committee votes.
The lone dissenting senator was Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg).
Going forward, House Bill 1099 makes it so an individual who donates an organ may not be discriminated against when it comes to insurance benefits, for life insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance.
According to the text of HB 1099, insurers “may not, under a policy, decline or limit coverage of a person solely due to his or her status as a living organ donor; preclude an insured from donating all or part of an organ as a condition to continuing to receive coverage” from their policy, or “otherwise discriminate in the offering, issuance, cancellation, coverage, premium, or any other condition of the policy for a person without any additional actuarial risk and based solely on his or her status as a living organ donor.”
Essentially, thanks to the new law, insurers can’t raise insurance premiums, deny or limit coverage, or cancel the policy or parts of the policy based on the fact that a Florida resident has donated an organ.
According to analysis by the Florida Legislature, the bill was partly intended to increase the supply of organs available for transplant, noting that in Florida alone 5,000 patients are currently awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. Across the U.S., 120,000 are waiting, including children. Only 41,354 transplants were performed in 2021.
The legislature notes that the number of transplants “increased 5.9%” compared to 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the number of living donor transplants. While increased in 2021, the legislature said the number was still lower than in previous years. Across the U.S., only 6,541 transplants were performed last year.
Now signed by the governor, HB 1099 takes effect July 1.
8 On Your Side has reached out to Sen. Brandes about his no vote, and is waiting for a response.