Providing Coverage for the Unique Lifelong Health Care Needs of Living Kidney Donors Within the Framework of Financial Neutrality

Am J Transplant. 2017 May;17(5):1176-1181. doi: 10.1111/ajt.14147. Epub 2017 Jan 9.


Organ donation should neither enrich donors nor impose financial burdens on them. We described the scope of health care required for all living kidney donors, reflecting contemporary understanding of long-term donor health outcomes; proposed an approach to identify donor health conditions that should be covered within the framework of financial neutrality; and proposed strategies to pay for this care. Despite the Affordable Care Act in the United States, donors continue to have inadequate coverage for important health conditions that are donation related or that may compromise postdonation kidney function. Amendment of Medicare regulations is needed to clarify that surveillance and treatment of conditions that may compromise postdonation kidney function following donor nephrectomy will be covered without expense to the donor. In other countries lacking health insurance for all residents, sufficient data exist to allow the creation of a compensation fund or donor insurance policies to ensure appropriate care. Providing coverage for donation-related sequelae as well as care to preserve postdonation kidney function ensures protection against the financial burdens of health care encountered by donors throughout their lives. Providing coverage for this care should thus be cost-effective, even without considering the health care cost savings that occur for living donor transplant recipients.

Keywords: donors and donation; economics; editorial/personal viewpoint; insurance; kidney transplantation/nephrology.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / economics*
  • Living Donors*
  • Needs Assessment / economics*
  • Nephrectomy / economics*
  • Organ Transplantation / economics*
  • Organ Transplantation / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / economics*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / economics*