Think about extra health insurance
After your transplant, you’ll need to take medicines that weaken your immune system (called immunosuppressants) to help prevent rejection of your new kidney. These medicines are funded by the Government of Alberta at no cost to you. The transplant team will arrange for you to get these medicines from a hospital-based outpatient pharmacy in Calgary or Edmonton. When you go home from the hospital, arrangements can be made for these medicines to be delivered.
A prescription insurance plan to help pay for the rest of your medicines is recommended. If you don’t already have insurance in place, you may be able to get a private insurance plan through your workplace. If that’s not an option, you may be able to get public insurance plans through the government such as non-group
Alberta Blue Cross or
Alberta Adult Health Benefit. You’ll need to pay for these medicines yourself if you don’t have the right type of insurance.
Making sure you have health insurance in place can help you manage unexpected costs at the time of your transplant.
Never skip your medicines to help lower your costs. If you’d like help getting coverage for your medicines, talk to your social worker and your transplant team. They can help you find resources, help you get your coverage, or find other ways to help pay for your medicines.
Be sure to enroll for any coverage early. It can take 3 months or longer before you get approved for some of these types of insurance.
For more information on specific health benefit plans in Alberta, go to
Learn about your health insurance plan
Take time to confirm that your health insurance plan will stay active, learn how your health insurance plan works, and what is covered. These questions can help you start your conversation with your insurance plan provider.
- What are the benefits and what is covered for care after your transplant?
- Is there a yearly maximum amount for the cost of medicines with the plan? This helps you plan for what you’ll need to pay for once you reach that amount.
- Is there anything that will prevent me from getting services or limit the benefits on my plan?
- Does the plan only cover me for a certain amount of time or up to a certain age?
Plan your finances
It’s important to have a plan to manage your finances (money concerns) during your transplant and while you recover. Finances can cause a lot of stress for people when they need to be away from work for health reasons. Take time to understand the state of your finances and prepare so you can meet your family’s needs, pay bills, and cover the costs of other expenses you may have during this time.
You may want to talk to a social worker to learn if there is help to cover your costs. In addition to your usual expenses, you may also need to pay for:
- transportation – getting to and from the hospital
- a place to stay (if you don’t live near the transplant centre)
- equipment and medical supplies such as a blood pressure monitor, weigh scale, thermometer, and medicines
Parking costs are not covered for appointments related to your transplant. You may wish to talk to the parking office at the hospital about your options such as weekly or monthly rates.
If you get a monthly allowance from the government, such as Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), disability, or social services, be aware that these organizations may review your situation after your transplant to see if you are still eligible. If you have questions about this, talk to your social worker and transplant team.
Planning for the unexpected is a way for you to make sure that others understand your wishes about your healthcare.
Do you have someone to make decisions for you if you aren’t able to speak for yourself? You may already have a power of attorney for your finances, but this may not apply to your healthcare decisions.
Having a personal directive (sometimes called a living will or an advanced directive) is part of advance care planning. It’s a way to plan for who will make decisions for you if you can’t make them for yourself. Take time to talk to your loved ones about your wishes for care.
Find out more about
advance care planning.