Updated at: 18-05-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Inquiring minds want to know: Who foots the bill for kidney donation? The recipient’s insurance is the most prevalent source of funding. Having our kidneys illegally sold, insurance can pay us for being living donors.

One of our bodies’ most important organs, the kidneys perform a variety of functions. Two working kidneys are normally present when we are born. You never know what may happen in your life, such as a serious car accident or getting a kidney illness that requires a transplant.

It’s possible that your insurance will cover the costs of your hospital stay, post-surgery treatment and repayment for donating an organ.

Why Is Kidney So Important?

The kidney is a fist-sized organ that sits at the bottom of our rib cage, one on each side of our spine. It is vital to our health because it removes impurities, waste, and excess water from our blood.

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We have two kidneys, one on each side of our spine, which are located at the base of our rib cage. In the human body, it plays a critical function in waste removal and contaminant removal by removing excess water and waste products.

What Are The Signs Of Unhealthy Kidneys?

The kidneys, despite their small size, play a critical role in our health and well-being. For the most part, kidney disease is left undetected until it becomes increasingly problematic. Increased nighttime urine and morning puffiness around the eyes are early indicators of renal issues, as are swollen feet and swelling around the eyes. Fluid retention, vomiting, and vertigo are all signs of renal failure.

It has long been known that there are a slew of diseases affecting the kidneys. Treatment options include antibiotics or other drugs given by a physician. Even Nevertheless, a kidney transplant is almost always necessary, raising the question of who pays for organ donation..

#1. Chronic kidney disease

It’s a long-lasting kidney condition that’s frequently caused by high blood pressure. Nephrons, the blood vessels in our kidneys that filter waste from the blood, are damaged by high blood pressure. Dialysis will be necessary to help the kidneys filter waste from the body when they fail, but it will not heal the problem. In some cases, a kidney transplant may be required if the illness worsens.

Diabetes can also be a factor in renal disease, as high blood sugar levels can cause kidney damage over time. Toxins in the body can cause kidney failure because the kidneys’ job is to effectively filter the blood.

#2. Kidney stones

Solid kidney stones arise when minerals and other molecules in the blood solidify in the kidneys. Patients described the process of urinating out kidney stones as excruciating. There’s no need for an immediate kidney transplant because medication can address this problem. Crystallized minerals are broken down and excreted more easily in the urine as a result of the medication’s passage through your system.

#3. Urinary tract infections or UTI

Bacterial infection of the urethra and bladder is the most common cause of urinary tract infections. Even though this illness is curable, it can spread to your kidneys and cause renal failure if you don’t get treated.

What Are The Ways Of Keeping Our Kidneys Healthy?

Even a single problem with kidney function can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, which is why kidney diseases are regarded as “silent killers.” In the next section, we’ll discuss a few ways to lower your chance of developing kidney disease.

Tip #1. Don’t intake over-the-counter pills every day

If you have kidney disease, even a few doses of common medications like pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications could be detrimental to your organs..

Tip #2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet

Don’t consume non-processed or restaurant food more than once or twice a week. As a result of the high sodium content, they are harmful to the kidneys. It’s okay to cook for yourself, but watch out for the salt content.

Tip #3. Check your blood pressure regularly

A regular workout can be observed, and taking it seriously will have a profound effect on your life. By doing this, you can keep your target weight and, as a result, control your blood pressure, which increases your risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease.

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Who pays for living donation?

Medicare or private health insurance generally covers the following for the donor (if the donation is to a family member or friend). Whenever possible, donors should coordinate their testing with the hospital’s transplant coordinator to ensure they are not missing anything:

  • Evaluation to determine if the person is a good candidate for living donation
  • Assessing the likelihood of successful living donation for the subject.
  • After-surgery care

Generally, neither the insurance of the recipient nor the donor will cover the following costs:

  • Recovering donors may lose pay because to time off from work. Medicare and most private insurance policies do not cover time off from work or other obligations. Donors, meanwhile, may be entitled for sick time, disability benefits, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • The cost of travel. Visiting a transplant hospital far from home means you may have to pay for things like transportation, hotel costs while you’re there for evaluation and rehabilitation, phone calls back home, and child care, among other things. Depending on the hospital, you may be able to request a free or low-cost hospitality house for you and your family.
  • Costs incurred during the evaluation procedure for treatment of non-related disorders
  • The transplant center will be able to tell you if any post-transplant costs are not covered. Donation costs might be discussed with the hospital’s financial counselor or transplant social worker.

A Living Organ Donation Cost Estimation Worksheet is available by clicking here. Once again, potential donors should consult with the transplant center to discuss their case.

Will my health or life insurance coverage be affected by donation?

Donating to charity shouldn’t have any impact on your health insurance. Insurance companies may no longer refuse to cover you or charge you more because of a pre-existing condition, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

As a result, a few living donors have had problems obtaining life insurance or have had to pay higher premiums. A transplant institution could advise an insurance carrier of current data showing that a patient is not at greater risk of mortality due to donation in these situations..

It’s important to double-check your current policies, if you have insurance, to see if a living donation would effect them. You may also want to visit a lawyer who specializes in insurance law.

If you’re thinking about donating, talk to the financial counselor and social worker at the transplant clinic to see out if your health or life insurance coverage would be affected. Before making a donation, potential donors should carefully evaluate these considerations.

Living Organ Donor Network provides donors an opportunity to purchase life, disability, and medical coverage if they have any issues as a kidney transplant recipient. All participants in the Living Organ Donor Network data register and those who wish to profit from this protection have the option of purchasing insurance. Contact Arlene Skinner at AFDT by phone at 800-543-6399 or by email at [email protected] for information on how to participate or locate kidney transplant programs that participate.

Is there any assistance available for lost wages, travel and lodging?

This can be a significant financial burden for live donors who have to miss work while they recuperate. If the donor’s employer is able to provide paid leave or allow the donor to use short-term disability, the donor is normally responsible for any time lost from work. When a donor is recovering, they may use vacation time, sick leave, or short-term disability. With regards to these difficulties, the NKF recommends that you consult with:

  • (Financial Advisor or Transplant Social Worker) at the transplant center
  • The Human Resources department of your employer

The National Living Donor Assistance Program may be able to assist you with travel and hotel costs. This program helps persons who desire to give an organ but cannot afford the travel and lodging costs connected with living organ donation.

Assistance from the American Transplant Foundation may be available if you are unable to work because of a medical condition, such as a transplant. There is a $700 cap on the amount that can be awarded as a grant.

In order to be eligible for Donor Shield coverage, a living donor must either donate at an NKR (National Kidney Registry) Donor Shield Center or participate in an NKR swap between transplant centers. The following are included in this list:

  1. Expenses Not Recovered Up to four weeks of compensation
  2. Financial assistance for donors’ travel, lodging, and mileage up to a maximum of $2,000
  3. a death benefit of $500,000 in life insurance
  4. Up to 52 weeks of disability insurance with a maximum weekly benefit of $1,500
  5. Assistance from an Attorney
  6. Coverage for Uncovered Donor Complication Costs (recipient’s insurance may also cover)
  7. Expenses associated with Donor Complications Not Covered by Insurance
  8. If a kidney transplant from a living donor is ever required, they should be given first choice.

Employees of the Federal Government

Federal Government employees

Members of the Federal Government

Employees in the private sector.

Only marrow donors (not organ ones) are eligible for a leave of absence in eight states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska and Oregon. For state-by-state information, go here.

Are there tax deductions or credits available for living donors?

Tax deductions or credits for unreimbursed donor expenses have been implemented in many states. For state-by-state information, go here.

Living donors of kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, intestine, or bone marrow would be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $5,000 for expenses that were not reimbursed, including missed income.

Thank you for your assistance in passing this bill. You can support live donors, transplant recipients and kidney patients by joining the NKF’s Take Action Network. Ensure that you respond to all of the highlighted alarms.

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Where can I get more information?

The financial and insurance concerns of potential donors should be discussed with their transplant institution. “Transplant Social Worker” and “Transplant Financial Counselor” will be available to help donors understand their options, as well as what costs will be faced by the recipient’s insurance, the donor, or both.

A free Q&A entitled “What Every Patient Needs to Know” is also available from the United Network for Organ Sharing. Fundraising drives, insurance coverage, Medicare and Medicaid, and other possible sources of support are all covered in the booklet’s thorough section about financial issues. Request a copy by calling (888) 894-6361.

If you’d like to learn more about Living Donation and Employment and Living Donation and Insurance after Donation, go here.

What services will the recipient’s insurance cover?

The recipient’s insurance pays for all medical services linked to organ donation. Your recipient’s insurance normally covers all medical services linked to your organ donation, including your examination, hospitalization, surgery, follow-up care, and treatment of any surgical complications that may arise.

What services could be billed to my insurance?

A claim will be made to your insurer if you undergo further testing or treatment for any conditions detected during the examination that aren’t part of the basic donor evaluation.

Non-standard donor evaluation or treatment procedures will be your responsibility to pay for. Obtaining insurance prior to examination and surgery is strongly recommended by the staff.

What if I don’t have insurance?

A pre-service payment is required for services that are not part of the donor evaluation or treatment of any problem discovered during the evaluation. It’s possible to make these arrangements at any of the company’s offices.

What if my insurance doesn’t cover me at Mayo Clinic?

The recipient’s insurance will be charged for any services directly related to your living-donor evaluation. Check with your medical team to see if there are any non-transplant-related services that can be handled by a local health care practitioner. Also, you can pay for the services out of your own wallet. Non-transplant-related services must be paid for by you.

How will being a living donor affect my current insurance or getting new or additional insurance?

Your insurance provider or your employer’s HR representative should be contacted for particular plan information. You can’t be denied health insurance coverage or charged more because of a pre-existing ailment thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Is there any assistance available as a donor for my travel and lodging expenses?

It is up to you to arrange your own transportation and lodging for this evaluation, as well as for the days leading up to and following your surgery. As a live donor, you should confirm with the intended recipient that the recipient’s insurance will cover your travel, accommodation, and child care costs.

Request reimbursement for travel and accommodation expenditures if the recipient’s insurance plan does not cover these charges. Paying donors is against the law. However, you can request that the recipient reimburse your travel, lodging, child care and other transplant-related expenses.

If the recipient does not reimburse you for your travel costs, you can seek reimbursement from the National Living Donor Assistance Center. The National Living Donor Assistance Center may reimburse a portion of your travel expenses if you meet certain requirements.

What donor information is released to the recipient’s insurance?

Upon receiving your medical clearance as a living donor, your recipient’s case manager will be informed of the news. As a donor at Mayo Clinic, your identity is protected in all correspondence.

Other expenses

Please plan for other expenses that may occur related to your transplant, which may include follow-up medical appointments, long-term medications, caregiver expenses, travel, parking, lodging and other expenses.


Following your transplant, there may be additional costs that arise, such as medical appointments or medicines for the rest of your life, as well as transport, parking and hotel fees.