Financial Planning for Joint Replacement Surgery

Planning your finances prior to having a major surgery can be daunting. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about joint replacement.

Often times, people preparing to undergo a major surgical procedure fail to prepare financially for the downtime that comes with recovery. This means that as you prepare for your surgery, one of your primary concerns should be covering the financial cost of recovery. As a recovering joint replacement patient, you can expect an average recovery time of between four weeks to six months depending on a number of factors such as your age, health, type of surgery, and your body’s response to the procedure.1

Paying for services during recovery

During your recovery time, you can expect to need some help completing basic tasks. It would be a good idea to brainstorm a list of some basic services that you may need help with as you recover. Here are some of the items you might want to consider:

  • Household cleaning and maintenance
  • Yard maintenance and landscaping
  • Grocery shopping
  • Pet care and/or dog walking
  • Personal care and meal preparation
  • Rides to doctor appointments and/or physical therapy

In many states, local governments and home healthcare agencies contract with nurse’s assistants or other home healthcare providers to aid those who are injured, elderly, or sick. The average cost of such services is typically around $20 an hour, but this is highly dependent on the area in which you live.2 The average use of such a service is between two to four hours a day. Based on these rough estimates. You can expect to pay roughly $40 to $80 a day for the help of an assistant.

Home healthcare assistants generally limit their duties to indoor, patient-related tasks. This means you may need to work with a landscaping service for lawn care. Again, depending on where you live, you can estimate a weekly lawn mowing service to run around $150.3 So, if you’re recovery takes you through the four summer months, you could estimate $2,700 for the summer. If your surgery is scheduled during the winter months, you’d want to consider whether or not you need snow removal. It might be worth your time to check in to local youth groups who might be interested in helping with lawn care or snow removal for a cheaper price than a professional service.

Taking time off work

Some employers will understand that you limitations while recovering from major joint replacement surgery. But, if you are self-employed, this is a different story. The key to preparing for lost wages is to save as much as possible in the months before your surgery. You could also look into short-term disability insurance coverage options. 

Managing insurance policies for surgery and recovery

In most cases, the final cost of surgery won’t be determined until after the procedure is complete. But, you can get an estimate of the charges prior to surgery. To do so, you will need to coordinate with your doctor and your insurance provider.

The longer you have to prepare your finances prior to surgery, the better. If your ability to pay is limited, you can research federal assistance programs and charities that may help. If you have any concerns about billing or your ability to pay your portion, talk to your doctor. Chances are they’ve helped others like you many times before and will be able to provide appropriate guidance for your specific conditions.

References
  1. Reither, J. (1999, November 29). "How long does it take to recover from total hip replacement surgery?" Orthogate. www.orthogate.org/articles/hip-and-knee/how-long-does-it-take-to-recover-from-total-hip-replacement-surgery
  2. Care.com Staff (2018, June 22). "How Much Does a Home Care Aide Cost?" Care.com.  https://www.care.com/c/stories/10239/cost-home-care-aide/
  3. Home Advisor Staff (2019). "How Much Does It Cost to Mow and Maintain A Lawn?" Home Advisor.  https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/lawn-and-garden/maintain-a-lawn/
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