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Liver Transplant Issues

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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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There are a few important issues to be aware of when considering liver donor evaluation and surgery.
By US law, you are not allowed to receive money or any other type of payment in exchange for being a liver donor. However, in some cases donors may be reimbursed for travel expenses, hotel expenses, and any lost wages related to the transplant surgery.
Check with your employer about taking time off work for the surgery and recovery period. Also find out whether or not you will be getting a paycheck during this time. If you have a desk job, you may be able to return to work when you feel up to it. However, if you do heavy lifting or other physical labor, you won't be able to return to work until your body has healed enough to handle the strain. If you have problems during or after your surgery, it may take longer to get back to work.
If money is tight while you're away from work, you may have to get money from your savings or investments, borrow money from family members, or use a credit card to get through this time.
If you do experience financial difficulties, be sure to talk to the social worker on your transplant team. He or she can give you advice for working through these issues, and answer any questions you may have.
It's very important to know that being a liver donor may INCREASE your health insurance premiums, which are the payments you make to the insurance company each month. You may also be LESS eligible to receive health, life, or disability insurance in the future. However, lawmakers are currently discussing new laws that hope to prevent this from happening.
These same situations can happen if your medical evaluation discovers certain health problems that you didn't know about before.
Finally, though unlikely, your insurance company may not cover any future medical conditions that they feel are linked to the liver transplant surgery. You may have to pay for medical care related to these conditions yourself.
All of these things depend on the rules of your insurance company and your specific healthcare plan. As these are very important issues, please be sure to discuss them with your healthcare providers.


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