Living Organ Donors Are Protected from Workplace, Insurance Retaliation Under New Illinois Law

Springfield, IL (STL.News) – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a new law Thursday that protects living organ donors from various types of retaliation based on their donor status.

“There’s no more generous or selfless act than donating an organ to a person in need, and we must ensure that living donors have basic protections to maintain stability in their own lives,” said Governor JB Pritzker.  “I’m proud that this legislation will allow people to make this deeply personal decision without risking discrimination from their employers and health insurance companies.”

The new law prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee for requesting or obtaining a leave of absence to undergo an organ donation and prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums or rates for living donors for disability, life and long-term care insurance.  It also tasks the Secretary of State with creating and maintaining an opt-in organ and tissue donor registry.

House Bill 2847 takes effect January 1, 2020.

“I know first-hand that when someone decides to be a living donor, they aren’t just saving one life; they’re saving the lives of everyone who loves the person receiving the organ donation,” said Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park).  “Now that HB 2878 is law, living donors won’t have to worry about whether they will be discriminated against in the workplace or whether their insurance premiums will go up.  They can rest easy knowing they are protected, and they can focus on their recovery and the recovery of their loved ones.  With thousands of people waiting on organ donations in Illinois, this bill makes it easier for people to make the decision to be a living donor.”

“Across Illinois, thousands of residents are awaiting a kidney transplant. Sadly, less than a quarter of patients who were on the organ donation waiting list last year actually received an organ transplant,” said Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield).  “We must do more to incentivize individuals willing to give so much of themselves for the health of another.”