How Much Does a Liver Transplant Cost?
A liver transplant refers to a medical process recommended by physicians for patients who have a high chance of dying within one to three years if their organ is not treated in time. Patients are usually considered for this transplant when their organ is functioning at 10-20% below normal.
How much is it?
- According to recent estimates, the average cost of a successful liver transplant is about $519,600. Depending on the circumstances, the procedure should be covered by most health insurance policies.
- Even if the health insurance covers it, you will be responsible for deductibles and co-pays if it is part of your policy.
- Transplantliving.org claims that the average liver transplant will cost $577,100 for the entire procedure.
- According to VA.gov, the average costs can be between $150,000 to $250,000 for the hospital stay. Following the surgery, the medication alone can cost upwards of $12,000 per year.
What is going to be included?
- In most cases, livers are donated from people who have died from other reasons other than liver failure. The donor often writes a will that if he or she passes away, their liver can be used. Before this organ is given to a patient, doctors need to make it matches with the patient’s blood type and body size.
- A transplant is commonly needed for those who have chronic hepatitis B/C, bile duct disease, cancer, fatter liver disease, or an alcoholic liver.
What are the extra costs?
- The additional costs to consider are nursing and after-care medical consultation services since immediately after surgery you would need to take proper care of the delicate organ. Most patients visit doctors to determine the progress of their healing, while some people also consult with nutritionists to know the best meals that can be taken for speeding up the healing process.
- Additional fees can include food, lodging, transportation, plane travel and lost wages if your employer does not cover it.
- Each hospital will have its own billing policy. Anesthesia, lab tests, organ recovery, surgery and operating room fees may be separate.
- After the surgery is complete, a variety of drugs must be taken to sustain the transplant. By the year, plan on spending around $8,000 to $15,000. If an infection is present, the costs can double.
Tips to know:
- Livers are quite a scarce commodity. Each year only 1/3 of those featured on the state’s waiting list are lucky enough to receive one. Moreover, nobody is allowed to sell or buy this organ in U.S. since it’s considered illegal. There are about 127 health care centers in America registered to perform liver exchanges.
- If a patient lives more than 50 miles away from a hospital, he must stay in a hospital for 30 days after discharge.
- Over 6,500 transplants are done in the United States per year. The average age is 50-64.
- The survival rate after 5 years is 74.3%.
- The average waiting time depends on the blood type, body size, disease and overall health.
- If the liver is diseased because of alcoholism, it will usually be very hard to get a liver transplant.
How can I save money?
- The best way to save on liver transplant cost is organizing a family and friends’ funds drive for covering the medical bills. There are many fundraisers that you can do to help pay for the surgery, and you will find that there are many generous people in your community that are willing to help.
- Always discuss your options with your insurance provider to see what is going to be covered. If you are looking for a new policy or want to switch, consider browsing through policies on eHealthInsurance.com. Most of the time, private insurance companies will pay a large portion of the bill.