Costs and Other Practical Matters

Provincial health plans cover the medical costs of living donation but there are other expenses which are not covered. Potential living donors should speak to their Living Donor Coordinator about these costs and other practical matters (i.e. insurance, child-care costs) related to living donation.

Living donation is a gift. The donor does not receive any financial or other compensation for donating one of their kidneys.

Medical costs are covered by provincial health plans. The charges for the donor’s evaluation, all testing and laboratory work, and doctors’ and hospital charges for the surgery and follow-up care are generally paid by provincial health plans.

Non-medical costs are not covered, in most cases. Non-medical costs include travel expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and additional child-care costs. Also included is the possible loss of salary for time off work for the surgery and recovery unless the donor has sick leave coverage available from their company health plan. Generally, these costs must be paid by for by the donor. However, reimbursement of some non-medical expenses is available in some provinces, so speak to the Living Donor Coordinator at the transplant center to find out more.

In July 2006, a three-year provincial pilot program–the Living Organ Donor Expense Reimbursement program (LODER)–was launched in British Columbia by The Kidney Foundation’s B.C. Branch in partnership with the B.C. Transplant Society. This program aims to remove financial barriers to living donation by providing financial assistance to living kidney and liver donors.

Insurance matters. Although living donation does not change a person’s life expectancy, potential living donors should check with their insurance provider concerning life insurance, private health insurance or travel insurance policies to obtain all the facts. 

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