Implantable devices, such as hip replacements and heart valves, are a central part of medical treatment today. Americans receive about 370,000 cardiac pacemakers and about 1 million total hip and knee replacements per year. Despite how common the use of implantable devices is, little information is publicly available on the prices paid for these devices in the United States. Limited information about prices and performance of many implantable devices has raised concerns that providers, consumers and insurers may be paying too much for these devices.
When Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez, 61, went in for knee surgery last month, he thought it was no biggie. After all, half a million older Americans this year will do the exact same thing - get a worn-out, aching knee joint replaced.
Search AARP Blogs