Kidney donor entitlements

The Knesset Labor, Health and Welfare Committee approved regulations governing reimbursements for expenses incurred by live Israeli organ donors (post 2008). The Organ Transplantation Law (2008) is designed, primarily, to enforce prohibitions on organ trafficking both from cadavers and from living Israeli donors. The law establishes, for the first time, a mechanism for compensating live donors by the Israeli government.

The law prevents remuneration for a transplantation organ while arranging for reimbursement for expenses incurred by the donor during the course of testing prior to the donation, the surgery itself as well as the time of recuperation. The donation process, medical tests and the surgery itself are all financed by the recipient’s Kupat Holim health fund.

The law provides for various benefits to living organ donors. These include reimbursement of 7,589 IS – 55,800 IS for medical expenses and lost work and high priority on the transplant list should the donor require a future organ donation. Similar priority will be granted to transplant candidates with a first-degree relative who was a deceased organ donor and to any live donor of a kidney, liver lobe, or lung lobe who subsequently needs an organ. The self-participation fee for any medical service resulting from the donation is waived. The donor attains “chronic patient” status, which entitles the holder to additional medical benefits. In addition, the law criminalizes organ trafficking, receiving compensation for organs, or acting as an organ broker.

Recently, an amendment was passed that exempts kidney donors from paying the health tax (מס בריאות) for three years from the time of the transplant. All donors who donated kidneys from Jan 1, 2010 will be exempt from the tax. Unfortunately, the amendment has not yet gone into affect and it is not clear when it will be implemented. Keep checking our web site as we will announce it as soon as the amendment goes into affect.

Reimbursement is designed to cover direct losses (salary, travel expenses) resulting from the donation. Entitlements include reimbursement for a hotel stay (up to 7 days) for the purpose of recuperation, psychological treatment, help with life insurance and any work, monetary or health problem which may occur as a result of the donation.

The donor is entitled to free admission to all National Parks and Nature Reserves within Israel.

The Knesset Labor, Health and Welfare Committee set the ceiling for reimbursement as well as the mechanism and time frame for applying for and receiving benefits.

The principle guiding entitlements and reimbursements is whether the claim is related to the organ donation.

The Committee regulations reflect an attempt to maintain a realistic balance between preventing the donor from incurring financial losses as a result of donation expenses and the desire not to provide financial incentive for organ donation in order to prevent any appearance of organ trafficking.

The ADI site (National Transplant Center which is part of the Ministry of Health) provides further information and appropriate forms for applying for reimbursement.

For further information regarding donor entitlements, contact Ronnie Gertel of Matnat Chaim at ronniegrtl@gmail.com or at 058-7282166Kivunim, the information center for medical entitlements, may also be contacted at kivunim@hadassah.org.il or 02-6779711 or 02-5844025. 

Kidney Donors from Abroad

Live kidney donations from non-Israelis are recognized as special organ donations.

A special organ donation requires the evaluation and approval of a central committee established for that purpose. The committee is mandated to deliberate upon and approve applications from non-related potential organ donors as well as special donors. Donors who are approved by the committee are entitled to the same benefits as all other Israeli donors.

It is important to note that in order to receive these benefits the donor must be the holder of an account in an Israeli bank. The donor must open such an account in person while he is in the country.

When opening the account, foreign residents need to present their passport and a 2nd ID with a photo from their home country e.g. driving license. The cheapest place to open an account is the Postal bank (not in a branch office but in a main office) but an account can be opened in any regular bank e.g. Bank Hapoalim. In both these banks the rules are the same, ie, requirement for passport and 2nd ID.

See the Kol Zchut website for more information for non-Israeli donors.

For further information regarding donor entitlements, contact Ronnie Gertel of Matnat Chaim at ronniegrtl@gmail.com or at 058-7282166. Kivunim, the information center for medical entitlements, may also be contacted at kivunim@hadassah.org.il or 02-6779711 or 02-5844025.

A copy of the Organ Transplantation Law (2008) can be viewed on-line.