Need an ACL Reconstruction? Scared of what it might cost you? Looking for ways to save a few dollars?
If you have been diagnosed with a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament and need to have ACL Surgery, you need to be prepared for what it will cost you. As part of your necessary preparation for an ACL Reconstruction, It is important to find out about all the costs well in advance.
Here are a number of ways that you can save money on your knee surgery and recovery journey:
1. Get Private Health Insurance – Make sure that you obtain the right level of insurance cover. You’ll especially want to look for higher levels of cover from orthopaedics and physiotherapy. Check the waiting times as some health insurance plans require you to have had the insurance in place for a certain amount of time before you can make any claims. And of course, shop around for your health insurance.
2. Borrow An Exercise Bike – One of the primary muscle groups that you’ll need to strengthen and exercise after an ACL Reconstruction is the quadricep muscle group. One of the most effective ways to do this is to ride an exercise bike. My Orthopaedic Surgeon told me that if I did nothing else, I should ride an exercise bike regularly. If you can borrow one instead of paying to use the one at the gym, you could save yourself a lot of money.
3. Buy a Theraband ($5 investment instead of $100’s of dollars at the gym) – There are many different types of exercises to strengthen your leg muscles following ACL Surgery, but one of the cheapest ways is to buy a theraband (quite possibly from your physiotherapist) for your strengthening exercises, such as for your hamstring.
4. Explore Insurance Claim Options – You may be in a position where you are able to make a claim against the insurance policy of another party that is partly responsible for your injury. For example, if you tripped or twisted in a public place where there was a hazard that should not ordinarily be there such as a hole or broken path, you may find that the local council or owner of the property has some form of insurance policy against which you can make a claim. They may be able to pay for all of it or perhaps just a part of it.
5. Use a Referring GP that Bulk Bills – You may find that you need to see your General Practitioner (that is, your local family doctor) at various points throughout your ACL injury experience. Your visits to the GP will generally be for initial diagnosis, referrals to Orthopaedic specialists, referrals for X-rays or MRI scans, to diagnose subsequent side effects following surgery, and for prescriptions. The cost of visits to the doctor can add up if you don’t use a GP that bulk bills.
6. Don’t buy all the prescribed pain killers – After an ACL reconstruction, your surgeon will most likely give you three prescriptions:
1) Anti-inflammatory tablets
2) Mild Pain killers
3) Strong Pain killers
With the advancements in ACL Surgery in recent years, they have also been able to minimise the amount of pain experienced after the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. In most cases, you will only need the mild pain killers if any at all. You may find that you don’t need any pain killers at all, however for peace of mind most patients would buy the mild pain killers just in case.
7. Do a big grocery shop BEFORE your ACL reconstruction (so that you don’t spend on food orders and deliveries for the first 2 weeks) – For the first couple of weeks after your ACL Surgery, you might find it difficult to drive or walk to the shops and then to push a trolley around while you do your grocery shopping. If you do make it that far, then you have the challenge of carrying the shopping bags into your home, not to mention being against your physiotherapists advice of carrying weights. The alternative to this is paying for takeaway food or ordering deliveries. This can be an expensive alternative.
8. Use your physio’s equipment (instead of the gym) – A big part of your ACL Recovery Program will involve strengthening muscles that support your knee and many people benefit from going to the gym. However, many Physiotherapists also have some gym equipment in their clinic. One way to save on expensive gym visits and memberships is to ask if your Physiotherapist would be happy for you to use the equipment at the clinic for your exercises during the first couple months. At $10-20 per gym visit, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars.
9. Pay for your surgery up front (and ask for a discount for doing so) – If you are able to pay a lump sum for your surgery up front, then you may be pleasantly surprised when you ask your orthopaedic doctor and the anaesthetist for a bit of a discount for paying up front or prior to surgery. The potential discounts can add up to a few hundred dollars.
10. Use your credit card to obtain rewards points – Now this suggestion is more about making your dollars work a bit harder for you. You will find some great benefits from getting a credit card that gives you reward points for every dollar you spend. With the thousands of dollars you spend and the number of rewards points you can accumulate, by the end of your recovery program you may be able to redeem your points for something special to treat yourself or even travel flights to take yourself on a well-earned holiday.
While the 10 ideas listed here are an excellent place to start, it is important to be fully informed of the costs that will face you as you go through the process of recovering from your ACL injury and getting back to your favourite sport. hobbies, and a normal way of life.