Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacement?

Does Medicare Cover Knee Replacement

Medicare covers most healthcare services when ordered by a licensed provider.

If you’re in need of knee replacement surgery, Original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) will cover various aspects of the costs, including recovery, as long as your doctor indicates the surgery is medically necessary.

Knee replacement surgery is relatively common (more than 750,000 per year), but is still a major procedure that includes weeks or months of preparation before and recovery after. Understanding how Medicare will cover your surgery and recovery is an important step in preparing.

Does Medicare pay for knee replacements?

Medicare covers surgical procedures that are deemed medically necessary by your doctor, so in order for your knee replacement surgery to be covered, your doctor must deem it medically necessary. There is no Medicare knee replacement age limit, though you must be enrolled in Medicare.

Depending on which kind of knee surgery you get, it may be covered by either Part A or Part B. Medications you may have to take after the surgery for reducing pain and risk of infection will be covered by Part D.

Part A coverage

If the surgery is an inpatient procedure, it will be covered by Part A. Most people have surgery as an inpatient and only have to stay at the hospital for a few days post-surgery. Additionally, Part A may cover:

An eligible stay in a skilled nursing facility (if you have a qualifying hospital stay of at least three days prior to your admission)

Hospital services such as:

  • General nursing
  • Meals
  • Medication while in the hospital
  • Inpatient services, such as imaging and labs

Part B coverage

If the surgery is an outpatient procedure, it will be covered by Part B. Additionally, Part B will cover up to 80% of:

  • Doctor visits, both before and after the surgery
  • Medically necessary physical or occupational therapy services
  • Durable medical equipment (DME) such as a cane or walker

Does a Medicare Advantage plan cover knee replacement?

Part C plans (Medicare Advantage) are required to cover everything Original Medicare does. If you have an MA plan, your surgery would be covered under either Part A or Part B as listed above. The primary difference may be the cost - your MA plan may have a lower deductible or out-of-pocket costs for the procedure or prescriptions.

Additionally, your plan may cover more durable medical equipment than Original Medicare does.

Does a Medicare Supplement plan cover knee replacement surgery?

If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, it may cover some or even all of your out-of-pocket costs associated with knee replacement surgery under Part A and Part B. However, you will still have to pay your monthly premiums.

Some Medicare Supplement plans may also cover your Part A and Part B deductibles and coinsurance amounts, but likely will not cover Part D prescription drug costs.

What is the cost of a total knee replacement if you are on Medicare?

The cost of a knee replacement can range from $20,000 - $40,000 or more. However, your costs for a total knee replacement vary based on a number of factors, including (but not limited to):

  • Your Medicare coverage
  • The type of procedure you need
  • How long the operation takes
  • Where you live
  • Where you have surgery
  • Whether you have complications or not
  • The type of care you’ll need after surgery
  • Medications you’re prescribed after surgery
  • Number of inpatient hospital days after the surgery
  • Physical therapy necessary

Before your surgery, asking your doctor if the surgery is medically necessary, whether you’ll be having inpatient or outpatient surgery, and estimated out-of-pocket costs will help you understand what you may have to pay, and what may be covered by Medicare.

Here is a breakdown of estimated out-of-pocket costs for a total knee replacement. To avoid unexpected costs, talk with your doctor and the hospital you are receiving the surgery at to understand how much the procedure and aftercare will cost, including medication and physical therapy.


You must meet your Part A deductible (if an inpatient) before Medicare starts paying, which is $1,632 (in 2024). You will also have to meet your Part B deductible before Medicare begins to pay. In 2024, this amount is $240.

For prescription drugs, you must meet the Part D deductible of $545 (in 2024).


If your surgery is covered by Part A, you will have no coinsurance as long as you stay in the hospital for less than 60 days.

After you meet your Part B deductible, you will be responsible for 20% coinsurance of the remaining cost. Medicare will cover the remaining 80%.


Part D prescription drug coverage should cover necessary medications for pain and therapy after your procedure, but you may have to pay a copay for these drugs.

Costs with a Medicare Advantage Plan

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your out-of-pocket costs may be different, even lower, than those on Original Medicare. Additionally, many MA plans include Part D coverage, so you could avoid incurring additional prescription costs. Call your plan prior to the surgery to ask about coverage and costs.

Alternatives to knee surgery

Depending on your circumstances, Medicare may cover alternatives to knee surgery, including:

  • Viscosupplementation. This procedure injects hyaluronic acid into the knee joint to help lubricate the damaged joint, reduce pain, improve movement and slow down osteoarthritis progression.
  • Nerve therapy. This involves shifting of pinched nerves in the knee to help alleviate pressure and reduce pain.
  • Unloader knee brace. This type of knee brace helps to limit the side-to-side movement of the knee, and puts pressure on the thigh bones to alleviate knee pain. 

Additional resources

Florida native Eric Ruge lives by one rule: Do the right thing. His goal as a Medicare agent is helping people find the right Medicare coverage for their unique medical needs and budget. He believes everyone deserves the peace of mind they get knowing they made the right decision about their Medicare coverage. When he's not working, Eric enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching Tampa sports, and playing the occasional round of golf.


Find a Medicare Plan in your area

It’s FREE with no obligation

Speak with a Licensed Insurance Agent

M-F 8:00am-10:00pm | Sat 9:00am-6:00pm EST