Waiting on an Organ Transplant in Wyoming

You might not be thinking organ transplants affect you, but here in Wyoming the process for some is difficult, even life changing.

News 13's Amy Lanski met with a family which may have to relocate for a transplant.

Meet Eric and Marlo Ferris.

Eric has been on dialysis for more than four years and told News 13, “They basically run all your blood out of your body and run it back in and run it through a filter and clean it and put it back in your body and it's pretty hard on a person sometimes."

Ferris was told he's at the top of a list for a transplant, but can't get one because he's on financial hold.

"All I qualify for is my Medicare. I can't get any other type of insurance because I am under 65."

He needs different insurance, yet Eric isn't eligible for anything else in Wyoming and explained he can only get covered by moving to another state.

Colorado has a program available for people under 65.

Marlo Ferris shared, “Colorado has a Medi-Gap program that he can qualify for so we have chosen to move to Colorado to get to the point where he can get a kidney, but our home is here, our daughter is here."

Ferris is not the only person in Wyoming facing this problem with the Wyoming Health Insurance pool also known as the WHIP program.

According to the Wyoming Department of Insurance website:
“WHIP was created by the 1990 Wyoming legislature to provide health insurance coverage to residents of Wyoming who are denied adequate health insurance.”

The problem for Ferris is transplants are not covered by the program, but the issue has been brought to the attention of the Wyoming legislature.

Medicare would cover 80% of Ferris’s transplant but the WHIP program will not cover the rest.