Medicare Guidelines for Total Knee Replacement

Original Medicare provides healthcare coverage for surgical procedures that are considered medically necessary. To have your knee replacement surgery covered by Medicare, your doctor must determine it is medically necessary.

The coverage of your surgery through Medicare will vary depending on the type of procedure. Medicare Part A covers inpatient surgeries, while Medicare Part B covers outpatient surgeries. It’s important to note that Medicare Advantage plans may offer different coverage options.

The costs of your procedure will depend on inpatient or outpatient treatment and your Medicare coverage. Even if Medicare covers your surgery, you may still have expenses like a deductible and coinsurance.

Medicare Coverage for Total Knee Replacement

Original Medicare Part A covers most of the costs of inpatient hospital care, including the knee replacement procedure and the hospital stay. Medicare Part B will cover any outpatient procedures needed after the surgery, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation.

However, the coverage limits and costs can vary widely depending on the patient’s situation and the location of the surgery.

Medical Necessity of Total Knee Replacement

For Medicare coverage of total knee replacement, the surgery must be determined as medically necessary. This indicates that the surgery is not optional but rather a required procedure due to a diagnosed medical condition. Medicare will request documentation from the patient’s physician to validate the medical necessity of the procedure.

Pre-Approval and Pre-Certification

Before undergoing a total knee replacement, seniors must receive pre-approval and pre-certification from Medicare. This means that the surgery must be deemed necessary by Medicare, and the patient must complete all the required paperwork and pre-approval forms. Seniors should also check with their surgeon or hospital to ensure they participate in Medicare and are in-network providers.

Total Knee Replacement Costs

Although Medicare covers most of the total knee replacement surgery costs, seniors may still be responsible for some out-of-pocket costs. These costs may include deductibles, co-payments, and any costs associated with care outside the hospital. Seniors should also be aware that their Medicare coverage may only cover specific types of knee replacement surgeries, and any deviation from the standard may result in higher costs.

According to’s procedure price lookup, Medicare patients usually bear an average expense of $2,123 for knee replacement surgery at ambulatory surgical centers and $1,859 for surgeries performed in hospital outpatient departments. Understanding this, it becomes evident how advantageous a Medigap plan can be in covering the gaps in out-of-pocket costs.

Alternatives to Total Knee Replacement

Finally, seniors should also know the alternatives to total knee replacement surgery.

These alternatives may include:

  • medications for pain relief
  • physical therapy
  • weight loss to reduce stress on joints
  • cartilage regeneration
  • injections to reduce inflammation
  • osteotomy
  • wearing specialized footwear or insoles

These or other conservative treatments could be an option, but patients should work with their doctors to explore all available treatment options and determine what is best for their situation.

Bottom Line

Medicare provides coverage for total knee replacement surgery when deemed medically necessary. However, Medicare beneficiaries should be aware of the costs associated with the procedure and any other out-of-pocket expenses. They should also explore all available alternatives to determine which treatment best meets their needs. Understanding Medicare’s coverage limits can help ensure seniors receive the care they need while minimizing out-of-pocket costs.

Sources: HumanaMedicare.orgMedical New


  • What are the requirements for total knee replacement?

    • Medical Necessity: Your doctor must determine The knee replacement surgery is medically necessary. It should not be an elective surgery but essential due to a diagnosed medical condition.
    • Pre-Approval: You are required to obtain pre-approval and pre-certification from Medicare. The paperwork and forms should be completed before surgery.
    • Provider Participation: The surgeon or hospital performing the surgery must participate in Medicare and should be an in-network provider.

Mark Prip

Since 2003, Mark Prip has been leading  Policy Guide, Inc., providing knowledgeable information about Medicare, life insurance, and dental coverage to clients in over forty states. With his unparalleled hands-on experience aiding countless Medicare beneficiaries in selecting an appropriate health plan, he is a prime example amongst other competitors for expertise and assistance. Mark has held his Florida Health & Life Insurance License (E051889) since 2003. View his license profile on the Florida Department of Insurance website.