Donation Costs

Journal
Costs
Recreation
Why Marrow Donation?
Update

Personal Testimony: not meant for the worldly minded.

Costs

A word about costs: there are none for the donor.  They give you multivitamins and iron supplements.  They pay for the transportation to the donation site.  They give you phone cards in case you need to make phone calls.  They send someone to the airport to pick you up and take you to the hotel.  They meet you at the hotel and escort you to your appointments.  They reimburse you for meals, up to $50 per day.  And they encourage you to bring along a second person to provide moral support.  They pay for that person as well.

OK, that bit about it being no cost isn't exactly true.  You do have to pay for the meals out of your own pocket, but the National Marrow Donor Program does reimburse you.  You have to keep records of your expenses, and you have to present itemized receipts for everything.  This is a bit of a hassle, and I'm sure some people don't keep good records and end up eating some of the costs themselves.  (This has already happened to me.)  Once the records and receipts are submitted, it takes three weeks for a check to be cut for reimbursement.

A Brief Digression about Per Diem

If you'll pardon the  brief digression, the quibbling over per diem is quite short sighted.  First, some people won't keep good records and will end up eating the cost themselves.  Not exactly in the spirit of the program.  Second, it costs money for the donor program to itemize the receipts.  One of my receipts for breakfast was less than four dollars.  They'll spend more than that in dealing with the receipt.  The DoD has found that it simply doesn't pay to require receipts for anything less than $75; the cost of record keeping outweighs the potential for fraud.  Just pay the $50 per day in cash---if the person eats cheaply and ends up with a few extra bucks, why should they care?

Ultimately this system is what the insurance companies want.  They are the ones paying the costs.   It is penny wise and pound foolish, but insurance companies are not known for their rationality.

Unfortunately, this system forces the donor to front some of the costs.  Perhaps this isn't such a big deal to some people, but it can add up.  For example, my first trip was ended up being extended to eight days.  That amounts to a potential $400 cost.  I live overseas, but let's be optimistic and say the mail takes a week.  After being in Washington a week, I mail in the Expense report.  It takes three weeks for them to cut the check, after which it is mailed to me.  That is a month and a half before reimbursement. 

Now imagine you have your significant other with you---that is double the expense.  How many people can afford to front that kind of money?  Not too many, I suspect.  I'd suggest military members look into taking out a loan from their services aid society or relief fund to cover the costs.  'Nuff said.

Journal
Costs
Recreation
Why Marrow Donation?
Update

Personal Testimony: not meant for the worldly minded.