The process of living organ transplant  – whether giving or getting – comes with costs.

The organ recipient’s insurance company will advise about medical costs that insurance will cover for the donor.  There are non-medical costs as well.  Sometimes, the organ recipient’s insurance provider covers certain non-medical costs for the organ donor.  An example may be travel costs for the donor’s surgery.  Here are some examples of the kinds of non-medical costs a donor may need help with depending on financial circumstance, the organ recipient’s insurance provider’s policies and other factors.

Food and lodging. Donors spend alot of time going to and from transplant centers – before and after surgery – which may be far from home and require overnight stays.  Sometimes, insurance will pay for certain of these expenses.  Some hospitals offer relatively low cost housing options, too.

Transportation to and from a transplant center before and after the transplant. Donors generally have to make multiple trips to a transplant center before surgery for testing, interviews, and follow-ups.  After surgery, donors may have limited need to return to the transplant center but that varies based on circumstances and complications. Whether near or far from home, living organ donors tend to incur some travel expenses, whether for gasoline and parking, public transportation, or airfare. Sometimes, the organ recipient’s insurance provider may pay some of the donor’s transportation costs.

Lost wages if an employer does not pay for the time spent away from work. In an ideal world, donors and recipients would have vacation and/or sick time available to use, and then if needed rely on short-term disability to receive a partial salary.  If those options are not available, or run out, lost wages can be a significant burden.  Help with lost wages enable organ donors to pay their regular bills, like rent, insurance or child care.

The United Network for Organ Sharing’s booklet on transplantation has a section on finances. Check it out.  http://www.unos.org/docs/WEPNTK.pdf

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