There is a massive problem with kidney donation in America: the typical donor only loses time and money during a conventional donation. In fact, a study found that the typical donor will lose up to $8,000 by participating in a kidney donation. This is partly because you need to take two to four weeks off to recover from the donation, and donors often have to travel somewhere in order to donate.
In order to make donating much easier and appealing for possible donors, the National Kidney Registry (NKR) announced that all donors giving a kidney through swaps put together by NKR will now be eligible for Donor Shield, a program where donors can get reimbursed for major expenses like lost wages, transportation costs, and lodging expenses for their caregivers.
Let’s say you donate a kidney to a stranger, either in exchange for a kidney for a loved one as part of a swap or as a “Good Samaritan” donor, at one of NKR’s 90-odd centers across the country (there’s at least one in most major metro areas). You need to take two to four weeks off work to recover, and if you make under $62,000 a year, then your lost wages will be reimbursed. The hotel room your mom or dad or wife or husband or partner stays in while you’re in the hospital? That will be covered too, up to $2,000. Same with your flights if you’re coming from far away. A huge share of the costs associated with donating your kidney is gone.
This is a huge deal, especially considering just how many people must shy away from donating their kidney due to the high costs that come with it. Hopefully, the new program will lead to more donations, which is sorely needed in the US.