Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacements?

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Russell Noga
by Russell Noga | Updated November 22nd, 2023

Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacements? IntroDid you know that Medicare can help cover the cost of knee replacement surgery? Understanding your Medicare benefits and options can save you time, money, and stress.

In this article, we will explore the coverage provided by Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medigap plans for knee replacements, as well as discuss “Does Medicare cover knee replacements” in detail, alternatives to surgery, and how to choose the right plan for your needs.


Key Takeaways


Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacements? Medicare Coverage for Knee Replacements Medicare Part AMedicare Coverage for Knee Replacements

Medicare offers coverage for both inpatient and outpatient knee replacement surgeries, depending on the type of surgery and your individual needs.

Before seeking Medicare coverage, consider alternative treatments like physical therapy, medication, or assistive devices that might help avoid unnecessary procedures and costs.

Does Medicare cover knee replacement? Yes, it does, but it’s essential to explore all your options before making a decision.


Inpatient Knee Replacement Coverage

Inpatient knee replacement surgeries are covered under Medicare Part A and include hospital stays and related costs. A qualifying hospital stay of at least three days is typically required to be eligible for Part A skilled nursing facility coverage.

The Medicare Part A deductible for inpatient knee replacement surgeries is $1,600 in 2023 ($1,632 in 2024).

The distinction between inpatient and outpatient knee replacement surgeries relates to the preparation for the procedure, the duration of the hospital stay, and the site of postoperative recovery.

If inpatient knee replacement surgery is on your radar, be aware that you’ll need to pay the Medicare Part A deductible. Consult your doctor to decide the best course of action tailored to your needs.


Outpatient Knee Replacement Coverage

Outpatient knee replacement surgery is covered under Medicare Part B, which covers medical services and equipment related to the surgery. Medicare Part B provides coverage for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and durable medical equipment, such as a walker or cane, in relation to knee replacement surgeries.

Out-of-pocket expenses for outpatient knee replacement surgery under Medicare Part B consist of a $203 deductible and 20% coinsurance. Understanding your Medicare coverage and out-of-pocket costs is crucial before proceeding with outpatient knee replacement surgery to prevent unforeseen expenses.


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Understanding Your Out-of-Pocket Costs

Out-of-pocket costs for knee replacement surgery under Medicare may vary depending on the type of surgery and your coverage. These expenses can include deductibles, coinsurance, and additional costs not covered by Medicare, such as prescription medications, physical therapy, and other medical services.

Comprehending your out-of-pocket costs allows you to plan for your surgery and make educated healthcare decisions. Make sure to review your Medicare coverage and discuss with your healthcare provider to fully understand all costs tied to your knee replacement surgery.


Deductibles and Coinsurance

Deductibles and coinsurance requirements vary depending on the type of knee replacement surgery and Medicare coverage. For inpatient knee replacement surgeries, the present deductible amount is $1,484, while outpatient knee replacement surgeries have a deductible of $203.Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacements? Deductibles and Coinsurance

Understanding knee replacement costs is essential for patients to make informed decisions about their treatment options.

Once you meet the Part B deductible, Medicare covers 80% of the cost of knee replacement surgery, with the remaining 20% coinsurance being your responsibility. There are maximum out-of-pocket limits for deductibles and coinsurance under Medicare to help protect you from excessive costs.


Additional Costs to Consider

In addition to deductibles and coinsurance, there may be other costs to consider for your knee replacement surgery. Medicare typically covers prescription medications necessary following a knee replacement surgery through Medicare Part D, which offers prescription drug coverage, but the exact coverage and costs may vary depending on your Medicare plan.

Medicare Part B usually covers up to 80% of physical therapy costs following knee replacement surgery. Durable medical equipment associated with knee replacement surgeries, such as a walker or cane, is covered by Medicare if deemed medically necessary and prescribed for use in a home setting.

Being mindful of these additional costs will help you prevent unexpected financial strains during your recovery.


Medicare Advantage Plans and Knee ReplacementsDoes Medicare Cover Knee Replacements? Medicare Advantage Plans and Knee Replacements

Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, medicare cover knee replacement surgeries and may offer additional benefits to lower out-of-pocket costs. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and require knee replacement surgery, it is recommended to contact your insurance company to determine the associated costs and any in-network requirements.

Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private companies that have contracted with Medicare to deliver healthcare services and offer complete coverage, including:

  • All the benefits of Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)
  • Extra benefits such as prescription drug coverage
  • Supplemental benefits like hearing, dental, and vision care.


Comparing Medicare Advantage Plans

When weighing up Medicare Advantage plans, factors like costs, coverage, provider network, flexibility, enrollment period, financial stability, and future healthcare needs should be taken into account.

To compare different Medigap plans based on coverage, you can:

  • Visit the website
  • Use online tools available on websites like eHealthInsurance or WebMD
  • Enter your ZIP code and compare the costs, monthly premiums, copays, and coinsurance of different plans available in your area.

Some of the most highly-rated Medicare Advantage Plans for knee replacement surgery coverage may vary according to your geographical area and individual requirements.

It is advisable to research and compare plans provided by major private insurance companies, such as:

These companies are renowned for providing comprehensive coverage and may offer highly-rated Medicare Advantage Plans for knee replacement surgery.


Additional Benefits of Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional Medicare benefits like lower out-of-pocket costs, prescription drug coverage, and extra services such as dental and vision care.

Exact costs and coverage are dependent on your specific Medicare Advantage plan. Hence, reviewing your plan details is key to fully understanding your coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans typically provide coverage for necessary physical therapy and rehabilitation services after knee replacement surgery, similar to what is offered by Original Medicare.

By comparing different Medicare Advantage plans and understanding the additional benefits they offer, you can make an informed decision about the best plan for your knee replacement surgery needs.


Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacements?

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) and Knee Replacements

Medigap plans, also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance, can help cover out-of-pocket costs for knee replacements not covered by Original Medicare. Medigap plans work in conjunction with Medicare to cover the remaining costs of knee replacement surgeries, such as coinsurance and deductibles.

Grasping your Medigap options and selecting the appropriate plan can substantially influence your out-of-pocket costs for knee replacement surgery. In this section, we delve into how to pick a Medigap plan and the way these plans coordinate with Medicare to finance your surgery costs.


Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacements? Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacements?

Choosing a Medigap Plan

Selecting a Medigap plan involves determining your coverage needs, researching different plans, considering other supplemental insurance options, using the Medigap Plan Finder tool, evaluating the advantages and expenses of each plan, and submitting an application for the chosen plan.

Factors such as costs, coverage, provider network, flexibility, Medigap plan types, enrollment period, financial stability, and future healthcare needs should be considered when selecting a Medigap plan.

Some highly-rated medical insurance companies for Medigap plans include:

  • AARP/UnitedHealthcare
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • Humana
  • State Farm

Utilize available resources, such as the Medicare website, AARP’s guide to Medigap plans, and your state insurance department, to assist you in selecting the right Medigap plan for your needs.


How Medigap Plans Work with Medicare

Medigap plans work together with Medicare to cover the remaining costs of knee replacement surgeries, such as coinsurance and deductibles. For example, after Medicare pays its share of the costs, Medigap plans, such as Plan F or Plan G, can cover the remaining charges, leaving you with minimal to no out-of-pocket expenses.

It’s important to comprehend how Medigap plans and Medicare interact regarding knee replacement surgery costs. Generally, Medicare Part B covers 80% of the cost of outpatient knee surgery, and Medigap plans may provide coverage for the remaining 20% and any extra out-of-pocket costs depending on the type of Medigap plan.


Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacements? Alternatives to Knee Replacement SurgeryAlternatives to Knee Replacement Surgery

Prior to contemplating knee replacement surgery, it’s vital to examine alternatives like non-surgical treatment options for the knee joint and to ascertain when a knee replacement procedure is the optimal choice to cover knee replacement surgery needs.

In some cases, non-surgical treatments may provide adequate relief from knee pain and dysfunction, eliminating the need for surgery.


Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Medicare covers non-surgical treatment options for knee pain, such as medications, physical therapy, and other conservative interventions. Medicare covers medications for knee pain treatment, including cortisone injections, viscosupplementation therapy (including Synvisc-One and SYNVISC), and genicular nerve blocks.

Medicare also covers physical therapy deemed medically necessary to treat knee pain, including:

Before considering surgery, discuss these non-surgical treatment options with your healthcare provider to determine if they may be effective for your specific situation.


When to Consider Surgery

Surgery may be necessary when non-surgical treatments have not provided adequate relief from knee pain and dysfunction.

Some signs that non-surgical treatments may be ineffective include:

  • Persistent pain
  • Limited mobility or range of motion
  • Worsening symptoms over time
  • Lack of improvement despite consistent treatment

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to consider surgical options for your knee pain.

Before deciding on surgery, it is imperative to get an accurate assessment and recommendation from your healthcare professional.

Factors such as:

  • your age
  • weight
  • overall health
  • the severity of your knee condition

will be considered when determining if surgery is the most suitable option for you.

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In conclusion, understanding your Medicare coverage for knee replacement surgeries and the available alternatives can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare.Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacements? Summary

Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medigap plans can all provide coverage for knee replacement surgeries, with varying out-of-pocket costs.

Exploring non-surgical treatment options and knowing when to consider surgery is essential for managing your knee pain and dysfunction effectively.

By researching your options and discussing them with your healthcare provider, you can find the best solution for your knee replacement needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions


  How much will Medicare pay for total knee replacement?

Medicare covers around 80 percent of the total cost for a knee replacement at a hospital outpatient department, covering up to $11,886 while the patient covers an average of $1,748.


  What is the age limit for knee replacement with Medicare?

There is no age limit for getting a knee replacement with Medicare, but the procedure is typically performed on individuals aged 50-80. To be eligible for Medicare coverage, patients generally need to be 65 or older or have been receiving disability benefits for at least two years.


  How do you get approved for a knee replacement?

In order to qualify for a knee replacement, you must have significant cartilage loss which can be evaluated through X-ray images. Additionally, the space between the knee bones will appear narrowed on an X-ray.


  What is the average cost for a total knee replacement?

The average cost of a total knee replacement in the United States is between $30,000 and $50,000 in 2020. Studies show that most insurance providers and Medicare will cover most of the cost, but there may still be out-of-pocket payments due.


  Does Medicare cover knee replacement surgery?

Yes, Medicare covers knee replacement surgery under Part A for inpatient procedures and Part B for outpatient procedures.

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