Are you saving your baby’s cord blood? If you are, how are you going to pay for it? Will insurance cover cord blood banking? In this post, we will answer this popular question regarding cord blood banking, as it is a hot commodity.
What is Cord Blood and Will Insurance Cover Cord Blood Banking?
Cord blood is placental blood that is left behind in an umbilical cord after cutting it. It is rich in some types of stem cells that can transform into the blood and immune system cells.
These cells live primarily in the bone marrow and cord blood. If a person suffers from a blood disorder, the cells can be transplanted to the person as a form of treatment.
The cord blood stem cells are unique genetically. But they are similar to the family members’ stem cells. They can be collected easily.
Unlike the stem cells in the bone marrow, the cells in the cord blood can be frozen to be used later on. However, you must obtain them after birth.
Given their importance and benefits, will insurance cover cord blood banking?
Fortunately, some health insurance providers can cover the entire cost of cord blood banking. However, it only happens if your case is medically necessary.
For instance, if you have a family history of a blood disorder, like leukemia, then you are eligible for partial or full coverage of the cord blood collection cost and storage.
But it depends on your provider.
Will Insurance Cover Blood Banking Cost if It is Not medically Necessary?
Health insurance providers will only cover the entire cost of cord blood banking if it is medically necessary.
Anthem BCBS, for instance, states that the collection and storage of this blood are done when an allogeneic transplant is possible for a certain recipient.
Then, Aetna Group considers it as medically necessary if a member with a medical condition and undergoing treatment if there is a match.
UnitedHealth Group, on the other hand, does not cover it. It states that the long term storage services do not meet the requirements of a covered health service. But you can find some UH plans that will cover the cost for medically important transplants.
It is also the same as Kaiser Foundation Group. It does not pay for the collection, testing, and storage of cord blood, even if it is medically necessary. However, it may include allogeneic stem cell transplants that can involve the collection of cord blood.
Humana is another health insurance provider that believes in this type of procedure. But it will only pay for autologous stem cell transplants if the procedure’s survival rate is 90%.
Highmark Group, on the other hand, will include cord blood banking for stem cell transplants. But they must only be done to patients with blood disorders and leukemia. It will not pay if the transplant is done for autoimmune disease.
Wellpoint Group will also cover it if it is medically necessary and it will only do so for blood disorders.
If you have Medicaid, then that would be better because it will pay for stem cels transplants for patients, with SCID and leukemias.
What Other Programs that Cover Blood Banking?
You may use Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, and Health Spending Accounts. These programs are un-taxed accounts.
Will Insurance Cover Blood Banking if Your Physician Deems It Necessary?
If your health insurance will cover blood banking, you will need to get a letter of recommendation from your physician. The letter must state that storing the cord blood is necessary to cure or treat imminent disease.
Are There Monthly Payment Plans in Storing Cord Blood?
If your health insurance will not cover blood banking, then you should not start to fret and decide not to save your child’s cord blood.
Keep in mind that there some private banks that store cord blood can give you payment plans. These plans are valid to pay for the upfront cost.
But you can avail of discounted banking. Some cord blood banks can offer you that if it is medically necessary. For example, if your sibling needs a transplant or may need it in the future, then you can take advantage of discounted banking.
However, before that, you must meet certain requirements. For instance, the person that requires the transplant has a medical condition that stem cells can treat.
How Much Does Banking Cord Blood Cost?
It will depend on the cord blood banks. You need to conduct a thorough research about it to find the right fit for your budget. There are several online tools out there that you can use to see where your money is going.
The general cost can be between $1,400 and $2,300. The price is for the collection, rest and registration. Then, you will have to pay at least $95 per year for storage. Some banks will charge more than that amount.
How Long to Store the Cord Blood?
It can be viable even after more than 20 years of storage. But it requires proper freezing and storage to preserve the cells for decades or indefinitely.
In that case, you will not pay for 20 years for the saved cord blood.
Is It Worth the Cost?
The umbilical cord blood has been proven to save lives as they are rich in stem cells. It is being used to cure diseases related to immune function and blood.
These would include leukemia, anemia and other metabolic disorders. Transplant patients can easily get blood cells. However, cord blood is a lot easier to match.
Will insurance cover cord blood banking? It does not matter. What matters here is that cord blood can save your life or your family’s. And if you cannot afford the entire cost, cord blood banks can offer you payment plans to ease the burden.
It is not always cheap, indeed. But if you opt to donate it to a public cord blood bank, then it is free. Then again, private banks can charge you $1,400, which is a minimum price. That’s why if your health insurance will cover cord blood banking, you should consider it.