According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, approximately 6,000 living donations take place each year. Family members, friends, and even complete strangers offer to donate an organ or tissue to help save someone’s life. While organ donations are incredibly selfless, the procedures can be costly. If you are eligible for Medicare, you may get help as an organ donor paying for the wide range of services involved in a transplant.
Although a kidney is the most frequently donated organ, people can also potentially donate one of two lobes of the liver, a lung, or part of a lung, the pancreas, or the intestines. Live donors can also give blood, skin, or bone marrow for someone in need.
Living donors require care before, during, and after the transplant surgery. Services may include:
- Necessary tests, lab work, and exams before surgery to make sure you are healthy enough to go through the surgery, and that your organ is a good match for the recipient
- Inpatient hospital care during surgery
- Doctor services during the hospital stay
- Follow up care to address any concerns you may have after the surgery
There are inherent risks to any surgical procedure, and living donors may experience pain, bleeding, blood clots, infection, and wound complications. Some donors also face mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, after surgery. Donors should communicate any physical or emotional stress during a follow up appointment.
If you have Original Medicare, you will pay nothing for your care as a living organ donor when you donate a kidney or part of the liver, pancreas, or intestines. You will not be responsible for deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance related to your organ donation. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will have at least the same benefits as Part A and Part B. Many MA plans offer additional coverage. Before you become a living organ donor, check with your plan for details.