Man Who Donated Kidney Receives $13,000 Bill In Return
A man in Reno, Nevada, has received a $13,064 bill after donating his kidney to his cousin.
Elliot Malin donated his kidney to help his cousin Scott Kline, who was in the late stages of renal failure.
While live donors are never supposed to receive a bill, the procedure usually being covered by the recipient's insurance, a mistake meant that Malin was threatened with facing collections if he didn't pay for the surgery.
In June of 2021, after discovering Malin was a match, he and Kline saw doctors, screeners and insurance companies to prep for the surgery.
Speaking of the work involved in the run-up to the operation, Malin said 'the amount of hoops you have to jump through to do this is pretty extraordinary'.
Despite this, Malin was given one assurance – he would not incur any of the costs of the transplant surgery, which was estimated to be $160,000, ProPublica reports.
Malin said 'the hospital was amazing on trying to make everything as easy as possible', and that his time in hospital that July was pretty smooth.
He and Kline would 'do our little walks around the hospital floor' following the surgery, saying, 'It was really nice to have that. Usually you’re there alone, especially during Covid.'
However, following the surgery in things were far from easy.
Elliot was assured before donating his kidney: He wouldn't be charged a dime for any related medical care.— ProPublica (@propublica) February 13, 2022
Then came the $19 bill for blood work...
Then $934 for lab work...
Then $13,064 for anesthesia services.https://t.co/TDTS567I18 pic.twitter.com/rkJnDBmm27
In August, Malin received his first bill while he was preparing to start law school. It was only minor, $19.15 for blood work that had been done prior to the surgery, but the hospital had said it would be covered.
Malin was then told his old insurance plan was billed for $934 of lab work, which was again supposed to be covered.
Then in late September, Malin received the ridiculous $13,064 bill, a bill that Kline's insurance was supposed to cover.
He told the hospital and assumed Kline's insurance the hospital would cover it; he forgot about the ordeal until he received a second notice in December.
The document read, 'Final Notice! Your account is now considered delinquent' and that if the bill wasn't paid 'further collection activity' would occur.
The bill came from a company called NorthStar Anesthesia. Malin called them to complain, saying, 'I walked through what this was for, that it was a kidney donation and I’m not the responsible party.'
It shouldn’t cost anyone even a penny to give or receive an organ. Wtaf— Marcia G (@gainesm) February 14, 2022
However, they didn't respond until ProPublica reached out for comment.
Then, Malin said 'the CFO of NorthStar just called me and told me she’s taken care of the bill'.
While Malin's issue was resolved the incident shouldn't have happened in the first place.
Speaking of the error, Morgan Reid, the director of transplant policy and strategy for the National Kidney Foundation, said, 'Living donors should not be receiving any bills at all whatsoever regarding any part of the living donation process.'
Malin's case highlights the on-going health care and insurance issues that continue to threaten the livelihoods of many American citizens today.
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