Does Medicare Cover Joint Replacement Surgery?

by David Bynon, last updated

Joint pain can severely affect daily life, making even simple activities challenging. After exhausting non-surgical options, joint replacement surgery might be the next step.

Medicare beneficiaries can find relief knowing that Medicare will cover joint replacement surgery if it’s medically necessary. This coverage extends to knee, hip, and elbow replacements. Supplemental insurance options are also available to manage costs beyond what Medicare covers.

Key Takeaways

  • Medicare Part A covers inpatient surgery, requiring a deductible for each benefit period.
  • Medicare Part B manages 80% of outpatient surgery costs after meeting the annual deductible.
  • Medigap plans can offset remaining costs from Parts A and B, including deductibles and coinsurance.
  • Medicare Advantage Plans cover joint replacement, but out-of-pocket expenses vary by plan.

Considering joint replacement surgery is a significant step, typically recommended when pain disrupts daily activities and all non-surgical treatments have been tried. The procedure replaces damaged bone and cartilage with prosthetic parts, potentially requiring post-op physical therapy for optimal results.

Original Medicare Coverage of Joint Replacement Surgery

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) supports joint replacement costs, including recovery, when surgery is medically necessary. Inpatient recovery is covered under Part A, including skilled nursing care.

For outpatient procedures, Part B steps in, covering 80% after deductibles are met. It also covers follow-up services, such as physical therapy, and durable medical equipment, such as crutches or other mobility devices.

Medigap Coverage of Joint Replacement Surgery

Medigap policies (Medicare Supplement Insurance) can alleviate financial stress by covering additional expenses not fully covered by Original Medicare. These includes Part A and Part D deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Plans also cover additional pints of blood when needed.

There are 10 standardized Medigap plans (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N). Each plan provides different levels of coverage, as shown in the following chart:

Medicare Supplement Plans Comparison Chart for 2024

Medicare Advantage Plan Coverage of Joint Replacement Surgery

Medicare Advantage Plans offer another route, covering joint replacement surgeries and associated costs, albeit with varying out-of-pocket expenses. It’s important to check with your plan for specific coverage details, including aftercare.


In summary, Medicare provides essential support for joint replacement surgeries, addressing both the procedure and recovery phases. Supplemental plans like Medigap or Medicare Advantage can further ease the financial burden, ensuring patients receive the care they need with manageable costs.


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