Cost of Stem Cell Transplantation in India

Cost of Stem Cell Transplantation in India Advancements in medical sciences have made it possible to cure several diseases & abnormalities to give a new life to the suffering patient. One such treatment is stem cell transplant, a revolutionary method to fix several lethal diseases. This article focuses on HSCT and how much it costs in India.

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    What is Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation?

    Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) or bone marrow transplantation is a medical treatment done to replace a person’s bone marrow with healthy blood cells.

    Stem cells can be changed into different types of cells to replace the damaged hematopoietic stem cells of your body. These cells include RBCs, WBCs, and platelets which are crucial in the normal functioning of the body.

    When is Stem Cell Transplant Required?

    Hematopoeitic stem cell transplantation is required when the bone marrow is unable to produce healthy blood cells. This can be because of many reasons:

    • Bone marrow failure (aplastic anaemia)
    • Lymphoma
    • Leukaemia
    • Immune system, blood or metabolic disorders such as thalassaemia, sickle cell anaemia etc.

    Depending on the requirement, the method can be used to restore normal cell generation in the bone marrow.

    How Much Does a Stem Cell Transplant Cost in India?

    In India, the cost of getting a stem cell therapy can range between Rs. 15 lakhs to Rs. 25 lakh depending on the kind of transplant; whether it is an allogenic transplant or an autologous transplant.

    Since the success rate of this surgery is high, the surgery has become popular in both metro and non-metro cities and the costs may vary considerably depending on several factors.

    Cost of Stem Cell Transplant for Different Diseases in India

    Depending on the diseases for which the procedure is to be performed, the cost of procedure will vary. Given below are some critical diseases along with their costs of treatment:

    Diseases

    Approximate Treatment Cost in Rupees

    Blood Cancer

    8.6 lakh to 20 lakh

    Cerebral Palsy

    5.7 lakh to 7.6 lakh

    Spinal Cord

    5 lakh to 5.8 lakh

    Factors Affecting Bone Marrow Surgery Costs in India

    The costs of the surgery will vary significantly due to several factors such as choice of hospital, kind of procedure, the overall health of the patient and more. Some important costs to consider are given below:

    • Pre-Surgery Costs: Including basic health check-ups, physical examinations costing up to Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000
    • Specific Tests: According to the kind of bone marrow transplant, tests like CT scan, Colour Doppler, Ultrasound etc. will be conducted costing up to Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000
    • Cost of transplant: Depending on the type of surgery, the total number of sessions the surgery alone can cost over Rs. 15 lakh and up to Rs. 25 lakh
    • Other expenses:Such as follow-up session cost, costs of immunosuppressant injections and other post-surgery costs up to Rs. 50,000

    Is Bone Marrow Transplant Affordable in India?

    The cost of the HSCT treatment spans in lakhs and isn’t a small sum for most Indian households. While the treatment costs are pretty less than those abroad, it is by no means a cheap or affordable procedure.

    As per a study, over 70% of people diagnosed with leukaemia in India are unable to undergo HSCT treatment due to financial constraints. This is a huge challenge for many families struggling with such lethal diseases and depleting resources to sustain their treatment.

    In such a case, it’s crucial to have a financial backup such as health insurance with considerable coverage to cover such emergency medical expenses.

    Is Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Covered by Insurance?

    Luckily, many health insurance companies in India offer coverage for bone marrow transplants under their critical illness health insurance plans. However, please note that most health insurance plans don’t provide coverage for stem-cell transplants other than bone-marrow surgery. This means that there are certain treatments that will not be covered by the insurance policy.

    Many critical illness health insurance plans cover the cost of human bone marrow transplants using haematopoietic stem cells. To be eligible for this benefit, the transplant requirements should be confirmed by an expert medical practitioner.

    Transplantation Coverage: Things to Remember

    There are several important things to consider when claiming transplantation costs from your insurer. Since stem cell transplant involves two people, the donor's expenses are often covered but with a lot of restrictions.

    While the policy covers the policyholder, only in-patient hospitalisation costs are covered in the case of donors. Thus it's very important to confirm these exclusions before signing up for any policy.

    Another important thing to note is the waiting period in the case of critical illness health insurance. For most insurers, this waiting period is usually 90 days, with a survival period of 30 days.

    Summing it Up,

    Living with a critical illness is a painful experience not just for the patient but also for their family. It is advised that people consider such risks seriously and take sufficient precautions for their future. Having a health insurance plan with suitable coverage becomes very important in such cases. This way, they can be at least financially prepared to tackle such difficult diseases.

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