Planned orthopedic surgery cost $25B in 2017, up 44% in 7 years: 5 things to know


A new report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association shows spending for planned orthopedic surgeries have grown significantly over the past decade.

The organization examined medical claims data for members who underwent hip and knee surgery from 2010 to 2017. Five things to know:

1. From 2010 to 2017, spending on planned orthopedic surgeries increased 44 percent and accounted for 47 percent of all orthopedic spending. The number of knee implants increased 6 percent and the number of hip implants increased 5 percent over the same time period.

2. The average price for inpatient knee implants in 2017 was $30,249, compared to $19,002 in the outpatient setting. There was a significant gap between inpatient and outpatient spending on hip replacements as well; average spending on hip replacements was $30,685 in the inpatient setting and $22,078 in the outpatient setting.

3. The outpatient setting represents a 30 percent to 40 percent savings for knee and hip procedures.

4. The outpatient complication rate improved by 23 percent for knee surgeries and 36 percent for hip surgeries from 2013 to 2017; at the same time, there were comparable complication rates in the inpatient setting.

5. The increased number of knee and hip replacements over the study period drove the cost, and the number of joint replacements for patients under the age of 65 years increased sharply. Planned orthopedic surgery cost around $25 billion in 2017.

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