Getting a price quote ahead of surgery

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

How much should a knee replacement cost?” It’s a topic Dr. Blair Rhode writes about on an orthopedic surgery web site, about bringing a retail method to medical pricing.

“If an uninsured patient went to a local hospital and asked to pay cash for a knee replacement, they would likely be quoted a number close to $40,000-$50,000, and this only represents one component of care,” he writes. “There is also the surgeon ($10,000), anesthesiologist ($2,500), labs ($1,000) and x-ray ($500). To put this into perspective, the numbers that Medicare agrees to pay are much different. Medicare pays approximately $10,500 to the hospital, $1,300 to the surgeon and $300 to the anesthesiologist. This is a grand total of $12,100 to have a knee replacement. Mind you, it is not our belief that this is a fair price and actually, some people feel that Medicare cost shifts actual costs to the backs of people that actually pay for their care. …

“When LASIK eye surgery first became available, the procedure cost in excess of $4,000 per eye,” he writes. “Today, ads promote $269 LASIK procedures. On top of that, the results have improved with new technological innovation. … There are people in the United States that are becoming part of the retail market.  OneFeeSurgery ( and FairCareMD ( are two such entities. These are web-based portals where healthcare providers offer reasonable prices for common orthopedic procedures. I created OneFeeSurgery with the belief in “all in” pricing. One of the most daunting aspects of the self-pay market is getting one fair fee quote for a particular procedure.”

Dr. Blair Rhode is a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon and owner, RoG Sports Medicine, as well as  founder of, and he wrote this piece on Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine.