Medicare only covers varicose vein treatments when medically necessary. If you get varicose vein treatments because you want your veins to look better, Medicare won’t cover them. However, Medicare may cover treatments if veins are causing medical complications.
Medicare Coverage for Varicose Veins
The first defenses against varicose veins are lifestyle changes such as losing weight, exercising, and avoiding standing or sitting for long periods. While Medicare won’t cover a gym membership or Weight Watchers, it may cover BMI testing and counseling if you are significantly overweight.
Your doctor may also recommend you wear compression stockings that create gentle pressure on your leg, encouraging blood flow and helping to prevent pooling. Medicare doesn’t cover compression stockings.
The next level of treatment is an array of procedures, many of which are outpatient and have a short recovery time. These procedures are not covered by Medicare if their goal is simply to improve the way varicose veins or spider veins look. But if a procedure is necessary to treat a medical problem, it may have coverage.
Common outpatient procedures include sclerotherapy, microsclerotherapy, laser surgery, endovenous ablation therapy, ambulatory phlebectomy, and endoscopic vein surgery.
If Medicare covers your varicose vein treatment, it will fall under Part B since it’s an outpatient procedure. You’re responsible for a small deductible, but after that, Medicare will pay 80 percent of the cost.
If you have to go to the hospital, Medicare will cover you under Part A. Part A also has a deductible of $1,365 per benefit period.
An Overview of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are bulging, twisted veins just below the skin’s surface. They are quite common, especially in the legs. But they can occur in other parts of the body as well.
Here’s how varicose veins develop. While the arteries bring blood from your heart to the rest of your body, your veins bring the blood back to the heart. The veins in your legs are equipped with small valves that open to let blood flow through but close to prevent it from flowing back down through your legs.
Over time, these valves can become stretched out and weak. Gravity pulls blood back through these weakened valves, and the blood then pools in the legs and feet. This causes varicose veins.
Several factors increase your risk:
- Being female
- Sitting or standing for long stretches of time
Medicare Supplement Coverage for Varicose Veins
Medigap plans supplement regular Medicare coverage by paying a portion of the cost of services that Medicare covers. If Medicare covers your varicose vein treatment, a Medigap policy can drastically reduce the amount you pay out of pocket after Medicare.
Dangers of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins can be unattractive, but they don’t usually cause any serious health problems. Sometimes, varicose veins cause itching, cramping, or discoloration in the skin around the vein.
However, some people have potentially serious complications:
- Skin ulcers – The increased blood pressure in varicose veins can cause fluid to build up around the vein, leading to painful skin ulcers.
- Blood clots – Sudden swelling in the legs is a sign of a blood clot. If you suspect you may have a blood clot, get medical attention right away.
- Bleeding – Veins close to the skin’s surface can burst, causing bleeding. Most bleeding is minor, but there is a chance it will occur again.
Medicare Advantage Coverage for Varicose Veins
By law, Medicare Advantage plans have to offer just as much coverage as Parts A and B. That means your varicose vein treatment may be covered if it’s medically necessary, but it won’t be covered if it’s considered a cosmetic procedure.
However, with a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be restricted to doctors within your insurance company’s network, and your out of pocket costs may vary.
Get Help Finding Medicare Coverage for Varicose Veins
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Call our agents at the number above or fill out an online rate form to get started. The application process is simple and Medigap insurance lowers your out of pocket Medicare expenses. Discover your best policy today!