Introduction: Knee osteoarthritis affects the quality of life, with knee arthroplasty being a cost-effective treatment for the severe stage of this disease. Access to knee arthroplasty is a health indicator of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The objectives of this study are to determine the incidence of knee arthroplasty between 2004 and 2021 in beneficiaries of the National Health Fund in Chile, the proportion of patients who underwent surgery in the private system, and to estimate the patient's out-of-pocket expenditure for surgery. Methods: Cross-sectional study. We used the Department of Statistics and Health Information database. Patients discharged from a Chilean health center who underwent knee arthroplasty surgery between 2004 and 2021 were investigated. We analyzed the proportion of patients by their National Health Fund category and whether their surgery was performed in public or private network facilities. Results: Of the 31 526 knee arthroplasty procedures, 21 248 (67.38%) were performed on National Health Fund patients and 16 238 in public institutions (51.49%). Patients from the National Health Fund showed a systematic increase in knee arthroplasty volume until 2019 but decreased in 2020 and 2021 by 68% and 51%. Of the total number of patients in the public system operated on for knee arthroplasty, 856 (9%) belonged to group A1, 12 806 (60%) to group B, 2044 (10%) to group C, and 4421 (21%) to group D. The expenditure incurred by these patients was estimated to vary between 24.4% and 27.2%. The historical proportions of access to this surgery in private institutions are 7% in group A, 13% in group B, 24% in group C, and 52% in group D. Conclusion: Fifty percent of knee arthroplasty surgeries are performed in public institutions, and two-thirds are performed on patients of the National Health Fund. Forty-six percent of the C and D groups were operated in the private system. The pandemic has increased the access gap, leading to a substantial increase in the proportion of patients from the National Health Fund of the B, C, and D groups who have migrated to the private system to access this surgery.