Transplant Waiting Period Outrages Doctors

Monday, 27 Jan 2014 11:35 AM

By Courtney Coren

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New health insurance plans in Washington state come with a 90-day waiting period for organ transplants, a rule that has outraged doctors and many are saying is antithetical to the spirit of the new healthcare law.

This waiting period was common when health insurance companies could create restrictions regarding preexisting conditions, but doctors and specialists say its a violation of the part of Obamacare that prohibits insurers from refusing coverage or creating a different set of rules for those with certain diseases, The Washington Post reported.

The rule is part of policies sold by Premera Blue Cross, BridgeSpan Health, Moda Health and Group Health, which says patients have to wait 90 days before they can even begin the evaluation and approval process necessary for organ transplants.

Doctors say there is no medical reason for the making patients wait, who are suffering from cancer, heart disease or other chronic illnesses.

"The whole idea of creating a waiting period for someone who is dying of organ failure is the antithesis of what the Affordable Car Act is supposed to be about," said Roslyn Mannon, former president of the American Society of Transplantation and a transplant nephrologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Obamacare prohibits waiting periods that are more than 90 days, but the new healthcare law does not specify which treatments are subject to waiting periods. This has opened up the rule to interpretation by state officials.

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