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Knee Replacements Can Put A Strain On Your Budget!

September 28, 2012

I ran my first marathon when I was 36. It was the San Francisco marathon and because I trained in San Francisco, the idea of running the hills for a marathon excited me vs frightened me. I had always ran 5 and 10K races for the sheer joy of running…as running was my sport, running kept my mind calm, and from what I was told, my body looking pretty good. My problem is that I am a big guy. I have big bones, I like to say I’m like a Clydesdale horse and most Clydesdale horses don’t run marathons…but I did and thus came the knee problems. When I was in my 40s and began training for another marathon I was worried as I felt old and tired. I went to the doctor and he said you need to reverse the aging process. How do I do that I had asked and he said join a boot camp. The boot camp was to get me better in shape (along with the training) and the combination was to reverse the aging process. But anyone that had ever gone to a boot camp knows it is just like going to the army. The dude yells and screams at you until your body can not even move. As we were doing these knee crawls across Golden Gate Park I hear and feel my knee rip. And I couldn’t move and boot camp was over for me and my running career ended.

When I was 48 both of my knees had total knee replacements but I’m not alone. The number of total knee replacement surgeries has soared 161.5% among Medicare participants in the past 20 years, a $5 billion annual tab that will continue to grow as the USA’s 77 million Baby Boomers age. The wider use of knee replacement is good news for the rapidly aging population. But while it eases pain and improves quality of life, it “can be viewed as another strain on government, individuals and business struggling with unremitting growth in health care costs. People are living longer and want to be active. The challenges are how to address post-surgery problems and how to ensure that doctors are not overusing a “highly reimbursed procedure.” A knee replacement costs Medicare about $15,000, a number that would be higher had Medicare not taken cost-lowering measures of shortening hospital stays and encouraging outpatient rehab. Those strategies, however, can lead to problems for some patients and add costs and longer recovery times.

From 1991 to 2010, 3.27 million patients 65 and older had total knee replacements, and 318,563 had revisions to fix problems. The number of primary knee replacements among Medicare patients increased from 93,230 in 1991 to 243,802 in 2010; revisions increased from 9,650 to 19,871. Though healthier patients would use less health care, surgeries also will be a driver of health care costs. Doctors must address “predisposing modifiable factors such as obesity” and develop better treatments for mild arthritis to prevent progression requiring surgery.

Clearly knee surgeries are not something we ever budget for, but something to think about in the future if you are so prone. Gunwel Associates is here to help you with all of your financial life and those things that affect your financial life…like unforseen knee surgeries. You work hard for your money, let us work smart to help you keep it. Give us a call today at 615-730-9444 and we can help you walk through life’s unforeseen hurdles. Visit our website at www.gunwel.com. See you soon!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2012 6:01 pm

    Nice and very informative. I am studying this problem and I must say that your article has helped me a lot homework problems.

  2. November 9, 2012 11:03 pm

    It is necessary to the happiness of a man that he be mentally faithful to himself.

  3. February 22, 2013 10:48 pm

    Thank you for such interesting information. I’m gonna use it!

  4. July 25, 2013 9:40 am

    Thank you for writing such a wonderful article!

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