Frequently Asked Questions
Do COTA families typically have insurance?
Yes, COTA families typically have individual (private, Medicaid or Medicare) and/or family coverage (private only), and most COTA kids and young adults have been insured since birth.
If COTA families have insurance, why do they need help?
No insurance plan covers all transplant-related expenses, which are significant. Transplant costs vary tremendously based on a number of factors but can cost between $250,000 and more than $1 million. These costs do not include family needs including lodging, food and transportation during the transplant stay. Additionally, post-transplant medications and medical care costs often add up to more than $10,000 annually.
Most insurance providers require a family to pay an annual deductible that can exceed $10,000 and require a copayment for each visit to the doctor, clinic or for medical tests. Even the most comprehensive insurance plan may only cover 80% of the ‘normal and customary’ expenses incurred within a network of providers.
Very few transplant families have the resources to meet these tremendous financial demands. When faced with the burden of a child’s potentially fatal diagnosis, most families need help.
Why do families choose to raise funds for an organization like COTA?
When parents first hear a medical diagnosis for which a transplant is the only chance at survival, they are often told they are going to need a strong and supportive network of family and friends to help them not only emotionally, but also financially. Having assistance with transplant-related expenses eliminates a significant stress for families and allows them to focus on their patient’s medical and emotional needs.
While your natural instinct may be to provide financial support directly to the family, there are several reasons it is recommended that you support a qualified nonprofit, such as COTA.
- Money received directly from friends and family could be considered taxable income and jeopardize eligibility for government-based aid (Medicare, Medicaid and others). Support received from COTA is not considered income and typically does not affect eligibility for assistance programs.
- Gifts made to COTA are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
- When you make a gift to COTA you can be certain that all funds are used only for transplant-related expenses, such as annual copayments, deductibles and medications.
Does COTA use funds raised in honor of a child or young adult for general operation?
No, COTA does not charge for its services and does not use any patient campaign fundraising proceeds for general operations. 100% of funds raised in honor of patients are used for transplant-related expenses.
How do COTA families receive financial help?
We have developed internal procedures to ensure funds granted to families are used for appropriate transplant-related expenses. Each family must follow COTA guidelines, which include providing appropriate documentation for all requests. We review the documentation and allocate funds to patient families or service providers.
How does COTA invest funds that are received?
Our Board of Directors has approved an investment policy that is a conservative approach to minimize risk, to preserve investment capital and meet the transplant-related expenses of our families as well as day-to-day operational needs.
Is COTA considered a reputable charity?
Most definitely! Guidestar, considered by those in philanthropy to be the gold standard for evaluating charitable organizations, has given COTA the Platinum Seal of Transparency, comparable to the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, that demonstrates our commitment to transparency.
We are an Accredited Charity with the Better Business Bureau and its Wise Giving Alliance. We have also received Charity Navigator’s 4-star rating for 10 consecutive years. Only 2% of charities rated have received the 4-star rating (Charity Navigator’s highest) in 10 consecutive years. This rating is given to not-for-profit organizations that practice exceptional fiscal responsibility and governance in fulfilling their mission.
What if COTA is not around in 10 years?
We began in 1986, and our Board of Directors and supporters are committed to ensuring sustainability long into the future. In the unlikely event that COTA would cease business operations, our corporate and legal structure ensures that remaining funds would be disbursed for qualified transplant-related services to COTA patients.