Funding for Liver Transplant in India

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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Rajath R Prabhu, last updated on 22 September 2023| min read
Funding for Liver Transplant in India

Quick Summary

The liver is an important organ that performs hundreds of involuntary functions daily.

Liver transplants are an expensive affair and there are many financing options available in India.

It is important to know all the financing options before selecting the one that resonates the most with you.

The human liver is an imperative organ in the body that is responsible for carrying out hundreds of involuntary functions daily. Be it the purification of blood by flushing out toxins, keeping a check on the levels of vitamins and minerals, or the necessary creation of bile, everything is performed by a healthy liver.


It is important to know that the liver is a sensitive organ that is affected by the intake of toxic substances such as alcohol. If these substances are consumed daily without a general check on the body, a critical condition requiring a liver replacement can be developed.


While the remedy is available, it is an expensive affair which will require some planning at your end. There are many available options to fund this procedure, but you need to know all of them to select the one which resonates the most with you.


Here is everything about liver transplants, and the financing options which are available in India.

What is a Liver Transplant?

As the name suggests, the surgical removal of an infected liver to replace it with a healthy liver is called Liver Transplant. When the liver may not be able to perform its functions properly, getting it replaced is the only sustainable option for the patient.
There are options of getting an entire liver from a deceased donor right after their demise, along with getting a part of the liver from a living donor. The divided liver grows into a healthy and functional organ for both the donor and the receiver.
On a global level, the number of Liver Transplants happening every year amounts to more than 25,000 cases. However, the total number of patients requiring urgent transplants every year is more than double the transplants that actually happen.

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What is the qualification criteria for a Liver Transplant?

Based on the annual requirements and availability, it can be deduced that healthy livers are not readily available for transplant. Therefore, there is a certain criterion that a patient needs to meet before they can be eligible to get on the waitlist.
In order to be qualified for a transplant, the patient must have:
  1. Continued clinical signs of liver failure 
  2. A healthy body to tackle recovery
  3. No risk of further alcohol or drug abuse.

What is the total cost of Liver Transplants in India?

Just getting a donor or clearing the waitlist is not enough to get the transplant from the patient's viewpoint. A Liver Transplant is an extensive surgery that requires the finesse of trained medical professionals, topped with modern medical instruments and expensive medication.
The entire procedure comes bearing a high cost and can burn a hole in the pocket of the patient if they do not have an array of financing options available. The average cost of the procedure can add up to INR 22,00,000 with multiple factors including:
  1. Transplant Type
    The total overall cost of transplantation in the case of living donors is 21% more than the cost incurred in the case of deceased donors since the process gets more complicated.
  2. Type of Donor Liver Resection
    The type of hepatectomy can differ in a manual procedure versus a robotic procedure. Robotic procedure requires modern equipment, and therefore the cost automatically shoots up.
  3. Pre-work up Requirements
    Some users have pre-existing conditions that require additional tests and other examination procedures. If the quantum of these tests is more and the complexity is higher, the variables will add to the overall cost.
  4. Donor Liver Registration (In the case of DDLT)
    While registration in the case of DDLT, certain factors like the cost of transportation of the organ can hike up the entire cost of the procedure.
  5. Hospital Stay
    Depending on the category of the hospital room and the quality of the package chosen for both donor and recipient, the cost can vary depending upon personal preferences.
  6. Post-Liver Transplant Medications For Donor & Recipient
    Patients need to spend at least 15,000-20,000 INR every month for post procedure anti-rejection drugs, thus influencing the overall cost of the entire package.
  7. Management of Complications
    While some patients are completely healthy to undergo a liver transplant, some do not have the required strength and composure to bear the surgery. In the case of these profiles, the cost can rise on the basis of extended post-operative care.

What are the various financing options for a Liver Transplant In India?

Presented below are the options to finance a Liver Transplant in India:
  1. Self Finance
    As clichèd as it may sound, self-financing is a readily available option for patients that do not have access to medical insurance. However, the overall cost of the surgery, including postoperative care, can be extremely expensive, and therefore most people refrain from financing the entire procedure from their pockets.
    While it might not be true for everyone, if you can actually finance your entire treatment comfortably without piling up debt, there is no harm in considering the option and selecting the variables according to your budget.
    Note: It is always advisable to have an emergency cash reserve for unprecedented events. The reimbursements from the insurance company can take a while, and thus the patient should be ready in case an emergency happens.
  2. Health Insurance
    Health insurance is one of the most sought-after methods in the case of a Liver Transplant since the patient is free of worry about the money and can focus on the recovery. There are various available options that insure both the donor and the patient getting the transplant.
    While it is imperative to check if your health insurance policy covers these special illness instances, if it does cover it, everything starting from pre-operative consultancy to post-operative care can be covered under the insurance claim.
    Adding to that, the amount of claim you will be getting is also proportional to the policy cap as per the plan that you have selected. The quality of other value adding services like the patient’s room/ward can also differ owing to the same reason
    However, Insurance companies are constantly coming up with innovative services such as cashless payments instead of the traditional reimbursement methods, instant claims against long delays, postoperative care packages, and even coverage for the expenses of the donor.
    Note: Some insurance companies have tie-ups with renowned hospitals, and therefore the claim might only be valid for a list of hospitals throughout India.
  3. Crowdfunding
    Crowdfunding is another popular method of raising funds for a medical emergency. There are many crowdfunding platforms like Milaap and ImpactGuru in India that provide a free and accessible platform to the people seeking these funds. 
    Once a fundraiser campaign is created, the donors can share their condition and other important details with the whole wide world in the hope of receiving help and donations. 
    The process of application on crowdfunding platforms has been simplified so that the adoption of this medium can be fastened. The organizations take care of all the paperwork, whereas the patient just has to submit all the credentials they have including:
    1. Report from the doctor indicating the need of a transplant
    2. Organization’s form - filled and duly attested
    3. Proof of family income and identity details

      Note: The credibility of the crowdfunding platform can heavily influence the amount of money that will be raised. If it is a trusted organization, there will be no underlying barriers in the mind of the donor.
  4. Medical Loans
    Banks are yet another resort when it comes to fulfilling medical needs during an unwarranted situation. Most banks offer personal and medical loans at feasible interest rates for their loyal customers that can be broken down into monthly installments. Some banks also offer zero-cost EMI.
    Note: The rate of interest for these loans is higher as compared to home and business loans, and therefore it is a less favorable option for patients falling under the minimum wage category.
  5. Non Governmental Organizations & Charitable Foundations/Trusts
    The rise in NGOs and charitable trusts has supported many survivors in battling deadly diseases. There are a variety of trusts that set aside a particular fund for the people that cannot afford their own treatment.
    In these organizations, either the fund is generated through door-to-door donations or by heavy donations from a single entity in the form of CSR and social welfare. 
    Indian Liver Trust emerges as a great example of the above mentioned type of NGOs which focuses specifically towards assisting people with issues related to their liver. Not only does the organization spread awareness about organ donation, it also facilitates as a mediator between patients and donors.
    Mohan Foundation, and TPAF are two more examples of NGOs that operate in the same domain to provide help and assistance alongside awareness campaigns.
  6. Government Assistance & Programmes
    The government of India has also taken some responsive measures to help the people that are below the poverty line (BPL) in fighting rare diseases such as liver failure and liver cancer. These initiatives include removing specific  funds for the economically challenged classes of the society alongside subsidizing expensive treatments to an extent where this class of people can afford it.
Here are the schemes that have been beneficial for patients:
  1. Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi
    Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi is an initiative that supports patients who fall below the poverty line but are fighting diseases that put their life at risk. The government has curated a list of super-specialty hospitals that provide excellent treatment to these patients even if they cannot afford it on their own.
  2. Chief Minister’s Relief Fund Maharashtra (CMRF)
    The CMRF is a special relief fund set up by the government of Maharashtra under the Bombay Public Funds Act, 1950. This fund is monitored and managed by the honorable chief minister of the state of Maharashtra and extends help in the domains of treatment and surgery including liver transplant.
  3. Financial Assistance Scheme For Poor Patients Suffering From Rare Diseases
    All the diseases that find a place in the list of rare diseases are financed through this scheme for the patients that come under the BPL. The treatment of these patients is covered under multispeciality government hospitals and institutes where ample nourishment is provided.
    Note: To access these services, a BPL card along with a list of other necessary documents like test scans, imaging, and doctors' reports would be necessary.
  4. Ayushman Bharat Scheme
    The Ayushman Bharat Scheme or Healthy India is a nationwide initiative launched by the Prime Minister of India to revamp the current levels of healthcare being provided to the citizens of India. This scheme includes immediate response mechanisms like adding ambulances, opening modern healthcare centers, and unique identity Ayushman cards for the beneficiaries.
  5. Tata Trusts Individual Medical Grant
    Tata Trusts has been actively involved in helping patients with liver transplant requirements via their revolving fund and their extensive web of network encompassing some of the best hospitals in India.
    The grant is provided on a fixed criteria that measures the income class of the patient alongside other variables via their fund repository.

Conclusion

The sole objective behind the introduction of these schemes and financing options is to bridge the gap between needy patients and expensive health care. With the help of these options, you can get an optimum treatment at top-notch medical facilities without shelling out each and every rupee of your savings.
The healthcare system of India is getting better by the day with efforts from both government and private hospitals. However it is imperative to know about the various available financing options so that you can get the best treatment at affordable prices.

Final Words

To track the right set of approaches can be a daunting task, however with the help of experts at HexaHealth, you can make this journey hassle-free and enriching.
HexaHealth has assembled a team of over 1,000 specialists that are readily available to help each and every patient in mapping out the best ways to undertake the right procedure based on years and years of experience.
If you feel your body demands attention, and you need some expert advice to plan the next move, seek advice from a HexaHealth expert today!

Frequently Asked Questions

After setting aside the option of self-financing, there are various other ways, such as crowdfunding, Health Insurance, Medical Loans, Charitable trusts, and even governmental schemes.
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Health insurance companies cover the cost for both; the donor and the recipient. It is always better to check in advance according to the financing alternative being chosen.
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There are various alternatives for financing your Liver Transplant, including health insurance and governmental schemes. If you are eligible, there is a possibility of getting free treatment.
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The cost of getting a transplant in India is relatively lower as compared to other developed nations that charge a hefty fee. There is no fixed minimum cost since the treatment is subjective to the services chosen by the patient. It can vary.
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In the case of a living donor, the cost is borne by the patient.  However, if a person is looking to donate his/her organs after death, he/she does not have to pay anything. Donor registration is absolutely free of cost and charges for paper work and donor-recipient matching is taken care by the recipient.
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Updated on : 22 September 2023

Reviewer

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More

Author

Rajath R Prabhu

Rajath R Prabhu

MSc. Clinical Research I PG Diploma in Public Health Services Management

3 Years Experience

His work in medical content writing and proofreading is noteworthy. He has also contributed immensely to public health research and has authored four scientific manuscripts in international journals. He was assoc...View More

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