How do patients cover the cost of BMT or PBSCT?


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Advances in treatment methods, including the use of PBSCT, have reduced the amount of time many patients must spend in the hospital by speeding recovery. This shorter recovery time has brought about a reduction in cost. However, because BMT and PBSCT are complicated technical procedures, they are very expensive. Many health insurance companies cover some of the costs of transplantation for certain types of cancer. Insurers may also cover a portion of the costs if special care is required when the patient returns home.

There are options for relieving the financial burden associated with BMT and PBSCT. A hospital social worker is a valuable resource in planning for these financial needs. Federal government programs and local service organizations may also be able to help.

NCI’s Cancer Information Service (CIS) can provide patients and their families with additional information about sources of financial assistance at 1–800–422–6237 (1–800–4–CANCER). NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

What are the costs of donating bone marrow, PBSCs, or umbilical cord blood?

All medical costs for the donation procedure are covered by Be The Match®, or by the patient’s medical insurance, as are travel expenses and other non-medical costs. The only costs to the donor might be time taken off from work.

A woman can donate her baby’s umbilical cord blood to public cord blood banks at no charge. However, commercial blood banks do charge varying fees to store umbilical cord blood for the private use of the patient or his or her family.

Where can people get more information about potential donors and transplant centers?

The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization, manages the world’s largest registry of more than 11 million potential donors and cord blood units. The NMDP operates Be The Match®, which helps connect patients with matching donors.

A list of U.S. transplant centers that perform allogeneic transplants can be found at BeTheMatch.org/access.

The list includes descriptions of the centers, their transplant experience, and survival statistics, as well as financial and contact information.

Source: National Cancer Institute.