How Much Does a Knee Replacement Cost?
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “If your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or injury, it may be hard for you to perform simple activities such as walking or climbing stairs. If medications, changing your activity level, and using walking supports are no longer helpful, you may want to consider total knee replacement surgery.” Because knee replacement is such a major surgery, and since artificial joints need to be replaced in 10-15 years, it is usually avoided until there are no other options. Most patients who receive a total knee replacement are between the ages 65-70.
How much does knee replacement surgery cost?
- According to MedicalTourismco.com, “The average cost of knee replacement in the United States is about $40,000.” This price is for those who are without health insurance. Knee replacements can cost as little as $25,000 or as much as $75,000 – this depends greatly on where in the United States the surgery is performed.
- A patient who is equipped with medical insurance such as Medicare will have the majority of the costs covered. However, even insured patients will have to pay some out-of-pocket expenses. This includes the deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance. The average knee replacement cost to an insured patient will be around $4,000. Be sure to check with your health insurance provider to get a better idea on what the insurance is going to cover.
- Overseas surgeries can cost significantly less. For example, this surgery could cost anyhwere from $7,000 to $12,000 in a country such as India. In a country such as Thailand, the surgery could cost anywhere from $11,000 to $16,000. Keep in mind that if you do choose this route, be sure to do your homework on the doctors and hospitals before exploring any opportunities.
$40,000 to $80,000
$15,000 to $24,000
$12,000 to $16,000
$10,000 to $15,000
$10,000 to $18,000
$7,000 to $12,000
$6,000 to $13,000
*The fees noted above don’t include any sort of health insurance plan. Remember, having this type of surgery overseas can pose a health danger. Always do your due diligence before proceeding.
What is going to be included?
- Before the surgery, the surgeon will examine and test your knee to determine exactly how much of the joint will be replaced.
- During surgery, the surgeon will replace all damaged joints and cartilage with pieces made of plastic or metal. Making a slight incision, the surgeon will be able to move the kneecap, removing all of the damaged surfaces of the joint. Once the damaged surface has been removed, a measurement will be made that fits the new knee. The whole process shouldn’t take no more than 2 to 3 hours.
- After the surgery, hospitalization for a few days will be necessary. During this time the patient will undergo in-patient therapy to get used to the new knee joint.
What are the extra costs?
- Many patients require more physical therapy after leaving the hospital. While this may also be covered by insurance, a deductible or co-pay will still be charged.
- There may be a few minor changes that will need to be made to your home, such as ramps, safety bars, raised toilet seat, etc. These adjustments may also be covered by some types of insurance but not all.
- Temporary use of a wheelchair may cost extra. You may also need to purchase a knee brace of some kind to offer more stability.
- Physical therapy sessions will be required for months ahead. This will all depend on the severity of your knee surgery and recovery process.
- Knee implants may have to be replaced every 15 to 20 years. Be sure to talk to your surgeon to get a better idea on how long it can last.
Tips to know:
- When looking for a plastic surgeon, it’s always best to look for one that has been certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. It also doesn’t hurt to look into their experience.
- Complications for a knee replacement are very rare. In fact, less than three percent of patients notice any side effects.
How can I save money?
- Many hospitals will offer discounts to patients without insurance, but these are usually not advertised freely – you must inquire about them!
- Most hospitals offer even greater discounts to patients who are about to pay cash at the time of surgery. Even if you don’t have the cash, most hospitals can set up payment plans depending on your annual income.
- Medical travel is becoming more and more popular as medical care gets more expensive in the United States. Medical travel is when a patient travels to another country to have a necessary surgery because medical care in other countries is so much cheaper. For example, the average cost of a knee replacement in India is $6,000. Services such as the Medical Tourism Company can assist you in finding a surgeon overseas that best fits your needs.
- If you don’t have any health insurance, consider picking up an individual policy through services such as eHealthInsurance.com.