Stem cell therapy is an exciting and innovative new medical procedure that could provide an effective alternative to surgery for many joint-related medical conditions. However, despite studies lauding its success, stem cell therapy is still considered experimental medicine, therefore health insurance carriers tend to decline coverage for these procedures.
Many people interested in alternatives to shoulder surgery may wonder about the cost of stem cell therapy and how they can handle the financial burden of paying out of pocket for an experimental procedure. Luckily, modern treatment providers offer several options to lower the initial investment for their patients and provide them with effective relief from their symptoms.
Cost Breakdown of Stem Cell Therapy
There is no baseline cost for stem cell therapy. Treatment providers consult with patients individually to obtain an accurate assessment of their patients’ medical histories and needs to determine the cost of stem cell therapy. Some of the factors that go into the full cost of stem cell therapy include:
- The extent of the patient’s condition. A patient with a mild rotator cuff tear will likely require less extensive stem cell therapy treatment than a patient with shoulder arthritis that has worsened for many years.
- The length of time the patient’s condition has persisted. Patients who have had shoulder complications for several years will likely require more extensive treatment than patients who have suffered acute injuries like rotator cuff tears or only recently began experiencing symptoms of shoulder arthritis.
- The number of injections the patient will require. If a patient only requires a single injection in one shoulder, this will cost much less than a patient requiring multiple injections in both shoulders and other joints.
- The amount of stem cells required for a successful procedure. More extensive treatment or treatment to multiple sites will require more stem cells and will therefore cost more.
Generally, stem cell therapy can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $8,500 or possibly even more for a single treatment depending on the clinical picture. Some patients who require injections into multiple joints may prefer to pace their procedures to offset the initial cost and minimize discomfort during recovery. Ultimately this comes down to personal preference.
Why Won’t Insurance Cover Stem Cell Therapy?
Insurance providers base their coverage options on the level of risk associated with a particular treatment, the policyholder’s overall medical status, and the individual risk the policyholder faces when undergoing a certain treatment. Stem cell therapy, despite making significant strides in recent years, still qualifies as an experimental treatment. Most insurance carriers are only invested in providing standard treatment options.
Is Stem Cell Therapy Right for Me?
If you experience pain from shoulder arthritis or recently suffered an acute injury like a rotator cuff tear, you may wonder about your treatment options aside from invasive surgical procedures that involve extensive recovery time. Stem cell therapy providers offer their patients individual consultations to determine their specific needs, answer questions about how long it may take for stem cell therapy to work, and to provide them with accurate cost breakdowns for treatment. If you are concerned about the initial cost, ask your provider about available financing options that can help you pay for your treatment over time. The relief you will experience will be worth the expense.