Donor Benefits

What is a Donor Benefit Plan?

It is a medical expense assistance program and a thank you for our loyal, dedicated blood donors and blood drive sponsor organizations.

There are a number of costs associated with medical care including transfusion costs at the hospital for blood infusion supplies, nursing administration of transfusions and for laboratory testing to match the blood components with the recipient. There are also processing costs for The Blood Connection to have the blood available.

Generally, medical insurance plans including Medicare and Medicaid cover such expenses. However, such insurance plans also generally require certain deductible amounts or co-payments be borne by the insured, thus leaving a residual “out-of-pocket” expense.

The Donor Benefit Plan helps offset a qualified beneficiary’s medical expense if and when transfusion is part of the medical treatment received. It does not cover any specific item related to the transfusion, nor does it cover expenses of any kind when transfusion is not part of the patient’s medical care.

The Benefits – How Much of the Cost is Covered?

A $25.00 benefit is provided for each unit of volunteer donated whole blood, red blood cells, leukoreduced red blood cells, apheresis platelets or fresh frozen plasma transfused anywhere in the United States per qualified beneficiary per year. Autologous and Directed transfusions are not covered.

The Plans and Plan Beneficiaries

Group Benefit Plans

Blood drive sponsor organizations (companies, churches, schools, civic organizations, etc.) qualify all the sponsor’s constituents and constituents’ immediate families by:

  • Having at least 25% of their blood donor-aged constituents donate* in any consecutive 12 month period OR
  • Hosting at least four blood drives in a 12-month period and average at least 15% participation* among its blood donor-aged constituents.

To arrange a blood drive, sponsor groups should contact The Blood Connections Donor Resources Department at 864.751.3069.

Blood replacement drives are also managed as Group Benefit Plans. In this case replacement donations are arranged when a blood recipient is not a constituent within a blood drive sponsor’s organization. Instead, by donating or hosting a blood drive individual donors and ad hoc blood drive organizers “replace” the blood the recipient has received. The qualified beneficiary is the blood transfusion recipient or designee.

To arrange a blood replacement drive interested parties should contact The Blood Connections Donor Resources Department at 864.751.3069.

Family Benefit Plans

Donor’s Immediate Family

Individual blood donors who are not employees or members of a blood drive sponsor group may use their donations to set up a Family Benefit Plan that covers them and their immediate family (spouse, parent, child, step-child, foster-child, step-parent, and foster-parent).** Two annual donations* are required to maintain benefits of the plan.

Donor’s Virtual Family

Individual donors may also use their donations to create a virtual Family Benefit Plan for another family or individual. An information form must be completed and returned to provide The Blood Connection with the head of household’s full name, address, and gender. Beneficiaries of this plan are the head of household and his or her immediate family (spouse, parent, child, step-child, foster-child, step-parent, and foster-parent)** Two annual donations* are required to maintain benefits of the plan. Donations* may be credited to this plan by any donor. Benefits become available after a 45-day waiting period.

* Apheresis platelet donations and automated red cell/platelet/plasma donations count as two donations.

** As defined by the U.S. Department of Labor 29CFR 780.308

How does a patient file a Donor Benefit Claim?

Contact the Donor Benefit Claims Manager at 864.751.3031

Please have the following information available when you call:

  • Patient’s full name
  • Patient’s telephone number
  • Patient’s mailing address
  • Patient’s coverage category
    (see “The Plans and Plan Beneficiaries” – above)

The patient (or patient’s representative) will be instructed to submit a photocopy of the patient’s itemized hospital bill to the address below. A summary bill is inadequate.

Mail the documents to:

Donor Benefits Claims Manager
The Blood Connection
1099 Bracken Rd.
Piedmont, SC 29673

How will the beneficiary receive the benefit?

A benefit check will be mailed directly to the beneficiary after the claim information is collected and verified.

Are there time limits to submit a claim?

Yes. The Donor Benefit expires twelve months from the date of transfusion.

The Blood Connection offers a free lipid profile test to all donors who meet the donation frequency requirements. This test is available at Donation Centers only and can only be conducted after a fast (donor must fast from midnight the night prior).

Lipid Profile Test

Who is eligible?

A donor is eligible to have a fasting lipid profile after whole blood, platelets or plasma have been donated three times or double red cells two times in a twelve month period.

What is tested in a lipid profile?

  • Total cholesterol
  • Low-density lipoprotein or LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Triglycerides
  • High-density lipoprotein or HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Cholesterol ratio

A fasting lipid profile provides valuable detailed information about blood lipids. It is used by physicians to diagnose and monitor treatment of elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

How does the program work?

Once the lipid profile voucher is received, all the donor needs to do is to visit one of our four donation centers for a blood sample to be collected. No appointment is necessary. The lipid profile test will be offered free of charge. Once the blood sample is collected, the results are ready in less than ten minutes.

Can the lipid profile test be performed on the same day as a donor donates?

Yes, however donating blood after fasting is not recommended. However, after a solid meal and plenty of water, a blood donation can be given.

Can a donor pay to have the lipid profile test done if the donation requirements are not met?

No. The Blood Connection is not set up to function as an outpatient laboratory.

To ensure your blood donation experience is safe…

Accuracy and Honesty are Essential

Complete honesty and accuracy in answering all screening questions prior to donation is very important for the safety of patients who receive blood transfusions. All information provided is confidential. Our ability to obtain full, honest, and complete information about donor health and behaviors is often more important to the safety of the blood supply than having blood to test in the laboratory.

Donation Process

To determine eligibility to donate we will:

  • Ask questions about donor health, travel, and medicines.
  • Ask questions to assess if a donor might be at risk for transfusion transmissible diseases.
  • Take donor blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.
  • Take a small blood sample to ensure donors are not anemic.

When deemed able to donate we will:

  • Cleanse the arm with an antiseptic (please tell us if you are allergic to chlorahexadine or iodine).
  • Use a new, sterile, disposable needle to collect blood.

Donor Eligibility – Specific Information

Travel to (or Birth in) Other Countries

Blood donor tests may not be available for some transmissible diseases that are found only in certain countries. If you were born in, have lived in, or visited certain countries, you may not be eligible to donate.

Sexual Contact

Why we ask questions about sexual contact:

Sexual contact may cause transmissible diseases to get into the bloodstream and be spread through transfusions to someone else.

Definition of sexual contact:

The terms sexual contact or sex are used in some of the questions you will be asked. These can mean different things to each of us, but in keeping with federal guidelines these terms apply to any of the activities below, whether or not a condom or other protection was used.

  • Vaginal sex (contact between penis and vagina).
  • Oral sex (mouth or tongue on someone’s vagina, penis, or anus).
  • Anal sex (contact between penis and anus).

HIV/AIDS Risk Behaviors and Symptoms

AIDS is caused by HIV. HIV is spread mainly through sexual contact with an infected person or by sharing needles or syringes used for injecting drugs.

Ineligible Donors:

  • Have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test.
  • Have ever used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything not prescribed by a doctor.
  • A male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977.
  • Have ever taken money, drugs or other payment for sex since 1977.
  • Have had sexual contact in the past 12 months with anyone described above.
  • Have had syphilis or gonorrhea in the past 12 months.
  • Have been in juvenile detention, lockup, jail or prison for more than 72 hours in the last 12 months.
  • Have any of the following conditions that can be signs or symptoms of HIV/AIDS:
    1. Unexplained weight loss or night sweats.
    2. Blue or purple spots in the mouth or on the skin.
    3. Swollen lymph nodes for more than one month.
    4. White spots or unusual spots in the mouth.
    5. Cough that won’t go away or shortness of breath.
    6. Diarrhea that won’t go away.
    7. Fever of more than 100.5 degrees F for more than 10 days.

Remember that HIV can be passed to someone else through blood transfusions even when feeling well and having a negative HIV test. Tests cannot detect infections for a period of time after an individual is exposed to HIV. Do not give blood only as a means for an AIDS or hepatitis test. Confidential AIDS testing is available at the local health department or call 1.800.322.AIDS for more information.

What Happens After Donation

To protect patients, blood is tested for transfusion transmissible diseases. If a donor’s blood tests positive, it will not be transfused to a patient. Donors will be notified about test results that may disqualify them from donating in the future.

Do not donate to be tested for HIV, hepatitis, or any other infections.

Confidentiality of Screening and Test Results

Blood centers are required to keep a confidential list of names whose blood might be harmful to patients. If medical history or blood test results are unclear or if they show that a donor’s blood might make someone sick, his name will be placed on this list. This list is strictly confidential.

IMPORTANT

To let us know if your blood should not be given to another person, please call the Donor Self-Exclusion Hotline 1.800.392.6551, ext. 1099.

It is important that you do not donate blood to be tested for AIDS.

Confidential AIDS testing is available at these County Health Departments:

Upstate Prevention: 1.888.232.2310

SC AIDS/STD Hotline: 1.800.322.AIDS

Abbeville County
905 W. Greenwood Street
Abbeville, SC 29620
864.366.2131

Greenville County
200 University Ridge
Greenville, SC 29601
864.282.4274

Greenwood County
1736 South Main Street
Greenwood, SC 29646
864.942.3600

Laurens County
93 Human Services Road
Clinton, SC 29325
864.833.0000

McCormick County
204 Hwy 28
McCormick, SC 29835
864.852.2511

Newberry County
2111 Wilson Road
Newberry, SC 29108
803.321.2170

Seneca Clinic
609 North Townville Street
Seneca, SC 29678
864.882.2245

Walhalla Clinic
200 Booker Drive
Walhalla, SC 29691
864.638.4170

Pickens County
200 McDaniel Avenue
Pickens, SC 29671
864.898.5965

Stephens County
222 North Boulevard
Toccoa, GA 30577
706.282.4507