How Much Does a Bone Marrow Transplant Cost?
A bone marrow transplant is an expensive medical procedure where a patient’s diseased bone marrow cells are replaced, This procedure is commonly performed on patients with severe illnesses such as leukemia, lymphomas and other types of anemia and immunodeficiency diseases. Most of the time, a donor with a matching bone marrow is needed for the transplant. In other cases, the dead bone marrow cells of the patient can be replaced by their own healthy bone marrow from other areas of the body. Despite its high costs, the transplant is not a guarantee that the disease will not reoccur.
How much does it cost?
- As mentioned, a bone marrow transplant is an expensive medical procedure. In fact, it belongs in the top 10 most expensive medical procedures in the world. The price has generally gone down since the procedure has become much more common compared to what it was before. The costs for the transplant vary depending on the location and the exact type of transplant done.
- According to an article at Investopedia.com, an Allogeneic bone marrow transplant (the bone marrow is donated by someone other than the recipient or his identical twin) costs $676,800, while the cost is $300,400 for the Autologous type of transplant (the donor is also the recipient). Also, according to this site, an Autologous transplant (combined with the use of radiation and chemotherapy) an range from $50,000 to $100,000 while the Allogenic costs anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000.
- The price for a Syngeneic bone marrow transplant (wherein the recipient is an identical twin of the donor) is comparable in price to an allogeneic-related transplant.
- More and more people opt to undergo the transplant in other countries such as Mexico, India and Germany since the costs are lower than that of United States hospitals. WorldMedAssist.com, a leading medical tourism company, states that medical treatments in India provides savings of 70 to 90 percent compared to the United States. Like other medical tourism companies, you can make use of the company’s site in order to get an estimate for the expenses on your bone marrow transplant. You just to need to enter some necessary information and an estimate can be given to you in no time.
What is going to be included?
- The entire bone marrow transplant takes place from another donor to the patient. The doctor can also utilize the patient’s own healthy cells to repopulate the bone marrow. To understand the entire process of bone marrow transplant, a discussion of the procedure by the National Bone Marrow Transplant Link is detailed in its official site at NBMTLink.org. You can also check out MayoClnic.org’s discussion on the said procedure.
What are the extra costs?
- The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link gives a detailed breakdown of the costs that a patient must expect to pay before, during, and after the bone marrow transplant. According to NBMTLink.org, a preliminary list of expenses other than those covered by the patient’s health insurance might include the following:
- Lodging for follow-up care
- Follow-up office visits
- Home care, house cleaning following transplant
- Transportation and parking
- Telephone costs
- Over-the-counter medications and related supplies
Depending on what the transplant requires, you must search for a donor. Finding donor will cost money for the following expenses:
- Donor search fees. Fees are charged whenever donors or cord blood units are tested.
- Compatibility testing. Once a potential donor is identified, additional testing will be performed.
- Donor typing of family and friends. A fee is charged for every test done. The fees generally go for the lab work.
- Post-transplant. Rehabilitation after the surgery is a must for all patients who have undergone a transplant.
- Other necessary fees are discussed on the site of the National Bone Marrow Transplant Link.
Factors that influence the price:
- The specific type of transplant. As previously mentioned, a bone marrow transplant can be done using different procedures. Each procedure costs differently from each other.
- Location. Most countries outside the United States are known to offer reasonably lower prices for the transplant.
Tips to know:
- Before undergoing a bone marrow transplant, the patient must undergo chemotherapy. This is sometimes combined with radiotherapy in order to eliminate as many of the diseased blood cells in his body as possible.
- For allogeneic transplants, there is a possibility of a complication. The complication may occur within a few weeks of transplantation. A graft versus host disease (GVHD) may develop as a result of the patient’s immunity defenses rejection to the new bone marrow cells.
- It usually takes two to four weeks for the bone marrow transplantation to generate new blood cell growth. The recovery, on the other hand, depends in the type of transplant performed. It can take anywhere from few months to a few years.
- According to NBMTLink.org, the transplant center will assist the patient in determining if your insurance will cover the testing of donors. In the event that your insurance will not cover it, you have no choice but pay for it yourself. The total fees may range from $10,000 to $25,000.
- Many insurance companies will not cover your expenses if you do the surgery out of the country. Check your options; it may be cheaper to pay for out-of-country surgery yourself than paying the deductibles or co-pays of your insurance
Questions to ask the doctor:
Below are some questions that are the suggested for you to ask your doctor before undergoing the bone marrow transplant. These are given by Cancer Research UK.
- What are the risks and benefits of this treatment?
- Are there any other treatment options?
- Will I have to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy first?
- Is there any long term side effects?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- Will I need to be in isolation; if so, for how long?
How to save money?
- If you are uncertain about your expenses, you can consult the National Marrow Donor Program for financial advice.
- Regardless of the fare and accommodation costs, one can save money if he will perform the transplant outside the country. You can always find skilled and experienced surgeons in India, Germany, Mexico, France and other countries. Remember, do this at your own risk.
- If you do not have a health insurance policy, you may want to search for one. Websites such as eHealthInsurance.com can help you find a thorough insurance policy.
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