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Life Health > Health Insurance > Life Insurance Strategies

Average U.S. Kidney Transplant Cost Soars: Milliman

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The average U.S. kidney transplant now costs about $414,800, according to analysts at Milliman.

The average cost has increased 58% since analysts at the Seattle-based actuarial firm gathered similar data in 2011.

(Related: UnitedHealth Says Narrower Group Distribution Helps Sales)

U.S. gross domestic product per resident increased just 22% over that same period. Overall per-capita health expenditures increased about 25%, according to government national health expenditure estimates.

The Milliman analysts have published data on kidney transplants and other types of tissue and organ transplants in its latest transplant report, to help health insurers, health plans, care providers, patients, government officials and others understand transplant finances.

The Milliman transplant cost totals include the estimated cost of pre-transplant care, tissue or organ procurement, hospital transplant services, physician transplant services, 180 days of post-transplant care, and the related prescription drugs.

The cost figures have obvious relevance to agents who sell products such as major medical insurance and critical care insurance.

The figures may also be of interest to financial advisors who help high-net-worth clients set aside enough of their own cash to self-insure against catastrophic health care costs.

Eyes v. Livers

The increases in transplant costs that have occurred since 2011 vary widely from procedure to procedure.

For cornea transplants, for example, costs have increased just 24% since 2011, to $30,200.

Costs have increased 39% for heart transplants, to about $1.4 million, and about 41% for liver transplants, to $812,500.

Total Costs

Because allogenic bone marrow transplants are much more common than heart transplants and are also very expensive, they account for a greater share of U.S. transplant spending.

The United States now spends an average of about 94 cents per insured resident under 65 per month on heart transplants for people under 65, up from 57 cents per plan member per month in 2011.

Spending on allogenic bone marrow transplants has increased to $2.07 per member per month for people under 65, from an average of $1.60 per member per month in 2011.


Use of different types of transplants by people under 65 has increased for some types and decreased for others.

The number of liver transplants per 1 million plan members per year has fallen to 18.7 this year, from 19.9 in 2011, and to 49.1 per 1 million for kidney transplants, from 53.

Use of heart transplants has increased to 8.2 per 1 million per residents per year, from 6.8 in 2011.

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