Travel Costs for Kidney Donors to Be Reimbursed by Insurer

ABC NEWS | Tom Murphy, Associated Press

Travel costs that could dissuade potential kidney donors from volunteering for life-saving transplants will be reimbursed by the nation's biggest insurer starting next year in a move designed to encourage more donations.

UnitedHealth Group says that it will pay back up to $5,000, not counting lost wages from missed work, becoming the latest insurer to reimburse people who donate for an organ transplant.

Insurers cover the medical expenses for someone who donates an organ, but many plans do not pay the cost of getting to the surgery site, staying near it while recovering and making medical appointments tied to the donation. Some states offer tax breaks for these costs.

People who travel to donate a kidney can miss at least two weeks of work and spend $5,000 or more, according to Harvey Mysel, president of the nonprofit Living Kidney Donors Network. He says these costs can discourage people from becoming donors. Continue reading
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