Why Do Donors Need Health Insurance If The Recipient’s Insurance Pays For Everything
All donors are required to have health insurance in the event that any medical issues/diagnoses arise during the course of their evaluation to be a donor.
In this instance, the recipient’s insurance does not cover the donor’s medical expenses, so the potential donor must have health insurance in place to ensure that they will be covered in such a circumstance.
Kidney donation may also be considered a pre-existing condition. Although current law largely prohibits the denial of insurance based on pre-existing conditions, some insurance companies are still allowed to deny coverage for this reason. This is another reason why obtaining health insurance prior to donation is important.
Get The Facts About Kidney Donation
Every year, thousands of living donors donate a healthy kidney to a person who has kidney disease, saving them from years of waiting for a kidney from a deceased donor, going through dialysis and complications associated with kidney failure.
Although living kidney donation is becoming more commona record 6,860 living donors donated a kidney in 2019some people may hesitate to become a living donor because they have heard incorrect information about the kidney donation process.
Here are some of the questions people ask about living kidney donation, and the facts as explained by Marian Charlton, RN, CCTC, who is the chief clinical transplant coordinator at Hackensack Meridian Health.
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Hi. This may be your first time hearing this but in , I found out I have kidney disease. My kidney function has gradually gotten worse and I have two treatments option: stay on dialysis for life OR get a kidney transplant. The average wait time on the deceased donor list is five years. I do not know when I will get that call that a kidney is available for me, so I am looking for a living donor while I wait. Please let me know if you can help in my search or if you want to learn more. Thanks!
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Kidney Donation After Death
You can register your decision to donate your organs after death through the Australian Organ Donor Register. Kidney transplants have a high success rate and by donating after death, you will be giving someone the potential to have a longer and more active life than they would have had on dialysis treatment.A transplant from a deceased donor can be used for medically suitable people who have been stabilised on dialysis.You must be declared dead before your organs and body tissues can be used. The two legal definitions of death in Australia are:
- brain death when a persons brain permanently stops functioning
- circulatory death when a persons heart permanently stops functioning in their body.
The type of death and the health of the organs and tissues of the potential donor dictate how the organ and tissue donation process will occur, and which organs and tissues can be donated.
How To Donate Your Kidney
This article was medically reviewed by . Dr. Ziats is an Internal Medicine Physician, Researcher, and Entrepreneur in biotechnology. He received his PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge in 2014, and completed his MD shortly thereafter, at Baylor College of Medicine in 2015.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 41,955 times.
Whether you want to donate a kidney to someone you love or you just want to be a good samaritan, theres a lot you need to know. Donating a kidney can save someone elses life, but it is not without its risks. First, you need to do thorough research to make sure you really want to donate your kidney. Then you must endure a series of medical tests to find out if you are an eligible donor. If you pass all the tests, youre ready to start talking to your doctor about surgery.
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The Nhs Organ Donor Register
In the UK, consent is required before organs can be donated. A person can give their consent to become an organ donor after death by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register or by discussing their wishes with loved ones.
Alternatively, a person’s organs can be donated if consent is obtained after their death from an authorised person, such as a relative or friend.
Joining the NHS Organ Donor Register is quick and simple, and will only take a few minutes of your time. You can remove yourself from the register at any time, and you can specify what you’re willing to donate.
Page last reviewed: 19 August 2022 Next review due: 19 August 2025
Financial Aspects Of Living Donation
Many potential kidney donors have questions regarding the financial impact of becoming a donor. There will be both covered expenses and non-covered expenses associated with evaluation and donation that potential donors need to consider carefully.
The insurance of the intended recipient of your kidney covers the testing needed to see whether or not you can be a donor as well as the surgery and hospitalization needed for the kidney donation.
In general, some follow-up/post-operative care is covered, but not all. The extent of covered follow-up care will vary depending on your recipient’s insurance.
In general, the following expenses are not covered by insurance, so should be considered “out-of-pocket” costs:
- Travel and hotel stay
- Follow-up costs
- Federal Employees 30 days paid leave for organ donation
- American Society of Transplantation’s list of organizations that provide paid leave
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Living Kidney Donation: Whats It Going To Cost
Risa SimonPreparing for Potential Costs Related to Live-Donation
Studies show that living donors may spend an average of $5,000 related to their donation these include direct and indirect costs. A strong consensus exists to support a financially neutral impact to a live organ donors contribution to humanity.
To that end, the Live Donor Community of Practice of the American Society of Transplantation, along with the support of eleven other organizations, looked at systemic and financial barriers to living donation and developed a toolkit to give potential living donors financial resources to assist in making informed decisions about the donation process in advance of donation.
Areas that may financially impact living donors and care providers might include:
The loss of wages associated with recovery time and testing procedures
Transportation to the transplant center for testing, surgery and follow-up care
Food, lodging, and incidentals for donation-related visits
Paying for alternate caregiving plans child care, elder care, pet care
Forfeiting vacation time, holidays, sick days or FMLA for time off work
Denials when purchasing disability or life insuranceor paying higher premiums.
Job security concerns for employers who may not work absences associated with donation
Uncovered medical expenses, which may vary by transplant center and by insurance contract. *.
Financial Assistance Programs:
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How Do I Know If I Am A Good Match For The Person Receiving My Kidney
You will have blood and antibody tests to see if your kidney is a good match for the recipient. Your immune system finds anything that should not be inside your body and attacks it to keep you healthy. The immune system protects our bodies by fighting anything it senses can hurt us, such as bacteria from spoiled food or viruses like the flu. When your recipient gets your donated kidney, their immune system will notice right away that the new kidney is different from the rest of their body. Then, it will start to attack the new kidney as if it were a disease.
To lower the chances of this happening, your transplant team will start by making sure your blood type works with the recipient’s blood type. There are four blood types: O, A, B and AB. If your blood type is very similar to your recipient’s, there is a lower chance that their immune system will try to fight the new kidney.
If you are not a good match for your potential recipient, you can still help them get a living donor transplant through a paired kidney exchange.
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What Are The Steps For Kidney Donor Evaluation Process
How Do I Find A Living Kidney Donor
If you need a living kidney donor, you can sometimes find a donor by asking friends and family members. If you are unable to find a donor among people you know, we recommend finding a transplant center that participates in our Champion Microsite Program, which is a free service that helps kidney patients build a simple website to tell their story and find a donor. The site is sharable via social media and comes with 250 free business cards with the patients name and microsite URL that can be given out by the patient.
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How Is The Surgery Done
You will be given a general anesthetic before your surgery. Until recently, the removal of a kidney required an 8 in. to 9 in. incision on one side of the body . Now, laparoscopy is usually used to remove the donor kidney. Advantages of laparoscopic kidney removal include less pain, shorter hospital stays, a more rapid return to normal activities, and a smaller, less noticeable scar.
What Happens After Surgery
Your doctor will prescribe medications to help manage your pain. Theyâll also want you to get up and start moving around shortly afterward.
As with any operation, there are possible aftereffects, like pain and infection. When you only have one kidney, theres a greater chance of long-term issues like high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about the possible problems you might face.
After donation, you should be able to live a pretty normal life. Youll have to take pain pills for a short time after surgery. Your remaining kidney will grow bigger to help make up for the one thatâs gone. Your doctor may want you to make a few changes in your physical activity. They might tell you to avoid contact sports like football or soccer in order to protect your kidney.
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How Do I Find Out If Its Safe For Me To Donate A Kidney
Here at UT Southwestern, the first step in our potential donor screening process is a kidney donation application. This application allows a wider net of potential donors to participate, even if they live across the country from the recipient.
A relatively healthy person in his or her 30s to 50s likely will fly through the form. The application asks for basic health details, such as age, height, and weight. We also ask for personal medical history, particularly pertaining to diseases that could lead to kidney problems down the road, such as:
- Smoking or vaping
- Urinary problems
Individuals with a history of these diseases might be screened out immediately. If theres a high risk that a potential donor might develop kidney problems later in life, giving up a kidney today is not a healthy choice.
Obesity and smoking can be exceptions for some potential donors because these risk factors sometimes can be reversed. Smokers and vapers can quit with help from their doctor and might be able to reapply, depending on their overall health.
We actually see return applicants fairly often. It can be tough for someone to quit smoking or lose weight, but saving the life of another person is pretty great motivation!
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How Do I Know If I Am Healthy Enough To Donate A Kidney
You will need to have a full health evaluation at the transplant center. You will meet with many members of the donor evaluation team. This team is specially assigned to work with you as a possible living donor and includes members similar to those on the transplant team. The evaluation will help your donor evaluation team decide if you are ready and healthy enough to be a living kidney donor.
As part of the evaluation, you will have many tests and exams, such as:
- Blood tests, such as to learn your blood and tissue types
- A spiral CT scan or other imaging of your kidneys
- Colonoscopy to test for colon cancer if you are older than 50
- Prostate exam if you are a man
- Mammogram and Pap smear if you are a woman
You can get all of these tests at a time that fits your schedule, without having to stay overnight in a hospital.
You will also talk with a social worker. They will ask questions to make sure that you are mentally and emotionally ready to donate a kidney and that you have a support system to help you after the donation surgery.
If the donor evaluation team decides that you are healthy and you are a good match for the person getting your kidney, you may be approved to donate your kidney.
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What To Know About Kidney Donation Risks And Considerations
Here are some things to know before donating a kidney:
- If you decide to donate, the transplant hospital will assign you an advocate who will discuss what typically happens before, during and after surgery and answer all your questions.
- Youll want to be sure you have adequate medical insurance in case pre-donation screening finds a condition requiring treatment or you have a medical problem after the kidney removal.
- After donating a kidney, it may be more difficult to get life insurance or disability insurance, and your rates may go up.
- Women who donate a kidney and later become pregnant may have more complications in pregnancy.
- When living with 1 kidney, you’ll have annual checkups to make sure its working well. Youll also need blood pressure checks every year since it tends to go up slightly after kidney donation.
- Its common to have strong emotions after donating a kidney. You might feel depressed, even if everything goes well. Getting support after organ donation is important. Contact your transplant center about resources or find a mental health professional that can help.
- It doesnt happen often, but if you donate a kidney and your remaining kidney fails, youll be given high priority on the transplant waiting list for a kidney donation.
Living Donor Kidney Transplants
The first successful live donor kidney transplant was performed in 1954. The donor and recipient were identical twins. Since then, our understanding of donor compatibility and the development of immunosuppressant medications have greatly advanced living donor procedures. Today, approximately 75% of people who receive a kidney transplant from a living donor maintain their kidney function for 10 to 20 years.
Living donor programs allow a relative or a compatible unrelated donor to donate a kidney. Siblings have a 25% chance of being an exact match for a living donor and a 50% chance of being a half-match. Donor compatibility is established through blood tests that look for matching blood types and antigens. The overall health of the potential donor is also of critical importance.
Kidneys from perfectly matched sibling donors on average can function for over 35 years. Live donor procedures of all types, however, offer better outcomes than deceased donor procedures:
- Live donor recipients spend less time waiting for a donor organ. The wait for a deceased donor kidney in New York averages five to seven years.
- Immediately upon transplantation, 97% of live donor kidneys are fully functional, versus 50-60% of deceased donor kidneys.
- Live donor recipients face less risk of organ rejection.
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What Tests Do I Need During The Evaluation Process
During your evaluation, the transplant team will complete urine and blood tests to assess your kidney function, blood chemistries, blood cell counts, liver function and exposures to infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and tuberculosis. An electrocardiogram needs to be performed to assess the heart. Chest X-ray and abdominal CT scan are the required imaging studies. Other tests such as heart exercise test and cancer screening might be required.
Kidney Donation Process Overview
Living donors are free to confidentially withdraw at any time during the donation evaluation process and are not obligated to donate.
To learn more about testing and living donation or learn more with our living donor education booklet and .
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