If you’re approaching kidney failure, the cost of a kidney transplant is likely just one of many major concerns you’re now facing. Depending on your insurance situation, you may be required to pay enormous sums of money for the treatment that will keep you alive, and once you’ve found a kidney for the transplant, cost can be yet another hurdle to jump before you make it to surgery. But crowdfunding can help defray the high costs associated with this type of transplant.
The United Network for Sharing Organs estimates that the overall cost of a kidney transplant—including expenses from services before, during, and after the surgery—is approximately $334,300. How, exactly, does that figure break down? We’ll examine the various costs associated with the procedure, but first, some information about kidney transplants:
- Because only one donated kidney is necessary to replace two failed ones, living-donar kidney transplantation is possible, and it has advantages over cadaver kidneys that the Swedish Medical Center outlines.
- Every twelve minutes, another name is added to the waiting list for a kidney in the U.S., according to American Transplant Foundation.
- It also reports that since 1988, over 617,000 kidney transplants have taken place in the U.S.
Major Costs of Kidney Transplants
We broke down the costs of a kidney transplant into step-by-step bullets. These numbers come from the Milliman Research Report, which compiled and interpreted UNOS data from December 2014. Use these numbers as an estimation to help create a budget, but realize that a variety of factors will affect the overall cost of your procedure.
- Pre-transplant care (30 days prior to surgery: $23,200
Pre-transplant evaluation and testing is necessary to ensure the safety of the transplant. Pre-surgery costs include lab screening for donor compatibity, x-rays, and other tests.
- Procurement: $84,400
This is the cost of finding and acquiring a matching kidney and can vary based on whether you procure a living-donor kidney or one from a cadaver. A 2000 study found live kidney donation to be overall less expensive than cadaveric donation or dialysis.
- Hospital transplant admission: $119,600
This is the typical cost for hospital facility charges during the transplant, and it could very well be the most expensive three-to-four hours of your life! Facilities costs cover the expenses of everything in the operating room except for the caregivers.
- Physicians’ during treatment cost: $20,500
This refers to the professional, non-facility expenses incurred during treatment, such as the doctors and nurses who operate on you.
- Post-transplant admission: $66,800
This figure covers expenses you may incur after the operation and typically varies widely. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) fees usually set you back around $4,000 per day, but the cost of in-hospital stay in other units differs. Depending on how long you take to recover, your post-transplant expenses could be more or much less. This figure also includes costs associated with lab tests, outpatient visits, and other services you may need after you leave the hospital.
- Immuno-suppressants: $19,800
This is the medicine necessary to ensure that your body doesn’t reject your new kidney. Good news for readers on Medicare! It has extended its coverage of the drugs to pay for patients’ lifetime costs.
Your access to and the extent of your insurance coverage will affect how much money you need to raise prior to surgery. Many people with Medicare or MediCal coverage, or those who are covered by private insurance, may find their out-of-pocket expenses manageable, but again, patient-to-patient expenses tend to vary.
If you need help paying for your kidney transplant, raise money by creating a free online fundraiser today.