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The Cost of Knee Replacement Surgery

Lauren Hargrave · January 21, 2019 · 4 min read


More than a million Americans have joint replacement surgery each year. Knee replacements lead that with 720,000 each year. These surgeries are also becoming more common. With that in mind, how much will it cost you?

The Cost of Knee Replacement Surgery

These costs are for total knee replacement. You can expect partial knee replacement to be 10-20% lower.

  • Base Surgery Cost – $49,500

  • In-Patient Hospital Cost – $7,500

  • Home Upgrade Requirements – the exact value is hard to calculate, but if you need a reference point items like railings, ramps and/or bathroom modifications could be required to help temporarily or permanently for your mobility needs.

  • Total Cost – $57,000

Knee Replacement Surgery Factors – Other Costs

  • Pre-Existing Conditions – These can create stipulations or complications. They often increase surgery costs.

  • Type of Surgery –  This is reasonable and easy to understand. As outlined above, you can expect total knee repairs to be more expensive than partial knee repairs.

  • Length of Hospital Stay – Additional hospital stays can cost over $1,000/day, not including any complications or additional care that likely accompany them. The longer the stay, the more costly it will be.

  • Finding “Normal” Again – It is hard to calculate costs for this line item, but please be aware there could be unseen physical and emotional costs to major surgeries, like a knee replacement.

  • Lifestyle Costs  – What none of these costs factors consider are the financial effect on your lifestyle. Consider your commute. If you walk, bike or take public transit you might be required to find a more comfortable form of travel. Costs for taxis, Ubers / Lyfts or other forms of travel might occur. Time off from work (and loss of income) top this list as well.

A major surgery like knee replacement will not only affect your savings account but also your lifestyle. This can compound costs. Be conscious of these combined costs so you can fully forecast the impact on your savings.

The Cost of Knee Replacement Surgery with Insurance

These costs are why you have a health insurance safety net. With that in mind, how much will you have to pay out of pocket for knee replacement surgery?

That all depends on your insurance. Let’s use an HDHP as an example. HSA-eligible HDHPs in 2019 have the following expense criteria:

  • Annual minimum deductibles of $1,350 for individuals and $2,700 for families.

  • Annual out-of-pocket maximum can’t be more than $6,750 for individuals and $13,500 for families.

Someone on an individual HSA eligible HDHP can expect to pay $8,100 for the year.

An individual or family on an HSA eligible family HDHP can expect to pay $16,200 for the year.

What is important to understand here, any expenses you have already paid into this would already be accumulated in these costs. These costs include total expenses of which the cost of knee replacement would factor in. Combined they are your yearly total health expense liability.

Wait! There could be more costs. Out-of-pocket and deductible costs aren’t the only factor in this cost equation. You must have a clear understanding of what your insurance will cover. Even with an increasingly common procedure like a knee replacement, some costs won’t be covered, or only partially covered. Be proactive. Ask questions, so you don’t get an expected bill that will cost you an arm and a leg (pun intended).

Pro Tip – Make sure you submit any and all expenses to your insurance company, this includes copays if possible. Otherwise, these expenses won’t be counted toward your deductible or out-of-pocket costs.

How to Save 25% Off the Cost of Knee Replacement Surgery

Open and establish an HSA. This will allow you to use pre-tax funds for pay for your medical expenses. Tax-savings can equate to 25% off the retail costs (assumes combined state and federal income tax of 25% or more). This is an incredible way to reduce your out-of-pocket and rising healthcare costs. The sooner you get started the more opportunity you have to save. Your HSA funds never expire. They are there for life!

Now that you understand the cost of knee replacement surgery, you can use our HSA contribution and savings tools to see how much you need to save each year to prepare for these large health expenses. Get started today, your future self will thank you.

Medical Expense Series

Lauren Hargrave

Lauren Hargrave

Lauren Hargrave is a writer from San Francisco who focuses on technology, finance and wellness. She follows comedians like most people follow bands and believes an outdoor sweat session can cure almost any bad mood. She’s also been writing her first novel for so long, her mom doesn’t ask about it anymore.

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Disclaimer: the content presented in this article are for informational purposes only, and is not, and must not be considered tax, investment, legal, accounting or financial planning advice, nor a recommendation as to a specific course of action. Investors should consult all available information, including fund prospectuses, and consult with appropriate tax, investment, accounting, legal, and accounting professionals, as appropriate, before making any investment or utilizing any financial planning strategy.



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