Kidney donor’s bills covered by Medicare

My boyfriend is donating a kidney to his uncle next week.  His uncle has Medicare, but my boyfriend has no health insurance.  Is he going to be stuck with a lot of hospital bills for doing this?  Should he ask his uncle for help paying them?  Right now, we all just want to focus on the uncle surviving.  But the threat of having a lot of bills afterwards is frightening.

Kidney Donor’s Friend

Dear Friend,

It’s a wonderful thing that your boyfriend is doing for his uncle.  And not to worry, Medicare will pay for the uncle’s bills and your boyfriend’s too.

Medicare pays for living organ donors’ hospital and physician care before, during, and after the surgery.  His uncle won’t have to pay his deductible or co-pays for this.  If your boyfriend had any problems with or after the surgery and had to go back to the hospital, this would be paid also.  He may have a follow-up visit or lab test long after the surgery has occurred; this would be covered.

According to Medicare’s website, anyone who has “regular” Medicare pays nothing for services and tests for living donors.  Regular Medicare means that he does not have a Medicare Advantage, or managed care plan.  I’m guessing that since the surgery is next week that the hospital knows his uncle and he are coming, and how it is being paid for, and so on.  Organ transplants are not spur-of-the-moment decisions! 
So, no need to worry about big bills haunting you later.  Now you can just focus on everyone’s faring well through the surgeries.  Best wishes to your boyfriend for a speedy recovery and many more years with his uncle.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.