Willingness to pay for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

Michael P. Hall, Alexis S.Chiang Colvin, Joseph A. Bosco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The outcomes of ACL reconstructions in terms of patient satisfaction and function are well known. Most orthopaedic surgeons feel that Medicare and other payors do not reimburse enough for this surgery. The purpose of this study is to determine how much patients are willing to pay for this surgery and compare it to reimbursement rates. Methods: We constructed a survey which described the function and limitations of an ACL deficient knee and the expected function of that knee after an ACL reconstruction. We then asked the volunteers how much they would be willing to pay for an ACL reconstruction if it were their knee. We also gathered data on the yearly earnings and Tegner activity level of the volunteers. In all, 143 volunteers completed the survey. We computed correlation coefficients between willingness to pay and both yearly earnings and Tegner activity level. Results: The average amount that the volunteers were willing to pay for an ACL reconstruction was $4,867.00. There was no correlation between yearly earnings and willingness to pay. The correlation coefficient was 0.34. There was a weak correlation between Tegner activity level and willingness to pay. This correlation coefficient was 0.81. The Medicare allowable rate for ACL reconstruction (CPT 29888) in the geographic area of the study was $1,132.00. Conclusion: The data demonstrates that patients are willing to pay much more than traditional payors for ACL reconstruction. These payors undervalue the benefit of this surgery to the patient. There is increasing pressure on orthopaedic surgeons to not participate in insurance plans that reimburse poorly. This places an increasing financial burden on the patient. This study suggests that patients may be willing to pay more for their surgery than their insurance plan and accept more of this burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-221
Number of pages4
JournalBulletin of the Hospital for Joint Disease (2013)
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013


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