Some insurances, for example, AETNA, reimburse up to $10,000 of the travel and lodging expenses. Anthem policy allows reimbursement of up to $50 a night for patient and $50 for caregiver for a total of up to $100 per night.
You are eligible to get on the transplant list at eGFR of 20% (creatinine of 2.8) that has been confirmed by the blood test. At creatinine of around 2-2.5, you could start checking your kidney function regularly by ordering the Creatinine blood test through any of the direct access laboratory testing companies, such as Health Labs, Direct Labs or My Med Lab to catch your eligibility for a transplant list earlier.
Age appropriate cancer screening tests are required by transplant centers as a part of pre-transplant evaluation process. Cancer screening tests are valid for a year and its helpful to get them done before undergoing pre-transplant evaluation. Electronic Dropbox software is handy to store test results.
Find several kidney transplant centers with the shorter wait for your blood type and PRA. Make sure your insurance covers them. Time is of the essence: your waiting time gets accumulated per center so its important to apply to centers without a delay, especially if you are not on dialysis. If you are on dialysis, your waiting time begins to accumulate from either dialysis start date or the date your center put you on the list, whichever date occurred earlier. Given that kidney can have warm/cold ischemic time up to 24 hours, the time frame to get to the Transplant Center can be as long as 5-10 hours. Arrange your transportation.
When your creatinine hits 2.8 (or eligible level determined by your transplant center), fill out application forms for the Centers of your choice and fax your tests to chosen centers. Use E-Fax software to fax your medical documents, so you will have an electronic record. Wait for the Transplant Team to schedule the pre-transplant evaluation visit date for you.
During evaluation at the Transplant Center, you will meet your Transplant Team, including:
Financial Coordinator - verifies your medical insurance and will request pre-authorization for the transplant services
Social worker - makes sure you are mentally and emotionally strong and ready for transplant
Nephrologist - confirms the demise of your kidneys
Dietician - goes over renal diet, prior and post transplant
Transplant Coordinator - reviews your medical history and requests additional tests if needed. Responsible for adding a patient to UNOS list.
Wait for the Transplant Team to get together for the committee review meeting where your case will be presented. Some Transplant Centers have their committee meeting every 6 weeks, significantly increasing the evaluation time for the patient.
Yearly check-up: Every year you are on the list, you would need to repeat your medical tests. That will ensure you are able to survive the surgery and thus can be allowed to stay on the list. So bring your most cheerful attitude.
Monthly PRA kit blood draw: Every month, you need to mail your transplant centers a tube of blood drawn at your local laboratory. Its necessary for your transplant center to have a fresh PRA kit from you every month, so they can run a crossmatch between your blood and potential donor. If they do not have monthly PRA kit, you are not being matched and there is no chances for a kidney offer.
Your compliance with transplant center health professionals during your kidney transplant evaluation is paramount. Your ability to follow transplant health professionals directions, be receptive to their instructions and prompt submission of needed documents and test results are viewed as an indication of your ability to adhere to immunosuppresent protocol after transplant. You could be found incompliant at anytime until proven otherwise by a special committee. Another words, if your transplant coordinator asks you to do 10 push ups, I suggest you do 20.
Your PRA (antibodies level) is high (all blood types) Or
You are blood type B
With the help of medical insurance, the immunosuppresent drugs cost just a copay, which could be 20-40$. The cost of the immunosuppresent drugs without medical insurance could be upwards of $2,500.00 per month.
Currently, Medicare covers 80% of the cost of immunosuppressive medications for 36 months after transplantation (for those whose Medicare entitlement is based on ESRD). Despite of media and transplant community attention to the issue, the Bill by Senator Burgess to extend the immunosuppresent coverage has not been inacted.
The researchers found that unemployed folks are less likely to be put on the kidney transplant waiting list and get kidney transplants than employed patients.