Costs for Hip & Knee Replacements Vary Widely, New Study Finds By Tod Aronovitz | 02/05/15 | 0 Comment

New research by Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurers has uncovered price gaps in the cost for hip and knee replacement surgeries—two of the fastest-growing medical procedures in the United States. The price variations are seemingly random but significant even within the same geographic areas, according to the “A Study of Cost Variations for Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries in the U.S.”

A recent news article in Reuters reported that the study “adds to the evidence of massive disparities between what different hospitals and medical practices charge in the world’s most expensive healthcare system.”

Researchers looked at claims for more than 53,000 procedures in 64 healthcare markets from 2010 to 2013. Nationwide, the study found that typical knee and hip replacements cost an average of just over $30,000, but uncovered huge price swings of as much as 313 percent depending where the surgeries are performed.

Florida markets in Orlando, Jacksonville, Fort Myers-Cape Coral/Punta Gorda, and Tallahassee were reviewed. Orlando showed the greatest price disparities—88 percent for knee and 89 percent for hip replacement surgeries, while the price differentials amounted to only 6 percent for knee and 2 percent for hip replacement in Tallahassee.

Throughout all four Florida markets, average costs for knee replacements ranged from a high of $32,600 in Tallahassee to a low of $28,100 in Fort Myers, while average hip replacement costs ranged from a high of $30,222 in Jacksonville to a low of $27,500 in Orlando.

The study highlights inconsistencies in medical pricing when today’s consumers have to make more decisions on their healthcare coverage and costs, the United States’ population continues to age, and surgeries such as knee and hip replacements will continue to rise.

“Extreme price variation in healthcare can have obvious financial consequences for individuals and employers,” the study’s authors said. “And from a macroeconomic perspective, it can have serious implications for the sustainability of (the) U.S. healthcare system.”

In addition to the cost of surgery, Florida patients undergoing hip or knee replacement procedures need to be attentive to potential medical malpractice claims. The risks of hip and knee replacement surgery include infections, nerve damage, excessive bleeding, pulmonary embolisms, and loss of motion. Patients who suspect they may have a medical malpractice claim are advised to speak with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney.

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Contact Miami medical malpractice attorney Tod Aronovitz for a confidential discussion of your case.