Second Wind Lung Transplant Association

Financing A Transplantation

The cost of a transplant and follow-up care varies across the country and by organ type. Even before your transplant, these costs can add up quickly. Few patients are able to pay all of the costs of transplantation from a single source. Most likely, you will have to rely on several sources to help pay for all of the medical and non-medical costs of pre- and post-transplantation.

Transplantation is a covered expense for most insurance companies. The costs of transplantation varies on a case by case basis and is negotiated with the individual insurance carriers by the transplant financial counselor. One of the biggest costs is the length of time you spend in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The ICU is a hospital unit that has specially trained nurses and special equipment to monitor and maintain you immediately after your transplant. The length of time you spend in the ICU will depend on how sick you were before surgery and how quickly you recover after surgery. You may want to ask your transplant team how recovery times vary at your center.

You or your family may have health insurance coverage through an employer or a personal policy. Many insurance companies offer at least optional coverage for transplant costs. However, the terms and extent of insurance coverage vary widely. Usually, insurance companies will pay about 80 percent of your hospital charges. This means that you are responsible for the remaining 20 percent from other sources until you reach your “out-of-pocket” limit.

Your transplant team realizes that the costs associated with transplantation can seem overwhelming. There are many funding alternatives which can be explored including private funds, insurance, government funding, fund raising campaigns, and charitable organizations. Your transplant center’s financial counselor will work with you to resolve the financial concerns you or your family may have.

Make good use of the members of your transplant team. They are valuable resources for you and your caregiver.

Because many patients cannot afford to pay for the full cost of lung transplant surgery, we need to explore other options to help with costs.  Second Wind has available for its members a Financial Assistant Program.  Listed below is a link to information regarding this program.  Quite often more than one source of additional funding is needed.  As stated above, your transplant center’s financial coordinator and/or social worker can help with this search.  Another source of information regarding financing a lung transplant, can be found at UNOS web-site at Transplant Living.   The web site is:    If you go to the site, enter a search for Financing A Transplant.   You will find information on costs, social services, funding sources, a financial resources directory, and questions to ask.  If you need additional help locating this source, please call Second Wind’s Help Line.

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