There is no good reason to live with varicose veins, but many people do. The idea that these ropy, bulging veins are merely a cosmetic problem is a misconception. For many people, varicose veins make daily tasks more than a little uncomfortable. The idea that varicose veins are cosmetic could cause a person who is a perfect candidate for vein treatment to put off seeing a vein specialist. Treatments that are performed for cosmetic purposes are not covered by insurance. Therefore, varicose vein treatment wouldn’t be covered, would it? Not so fast! This is the very thinking that could result in unnecessary pain and stress. Here, we answer the question that some never think to ask: will insurance pay for varicose vein treatment?
Criteria for Varicose Vein Treatment
We do understand why it can be easy to assume vein treatment would not qualify for medical insurance coverage. In some cases, this is true. Spider veins, for example, are more cosmetically concerning. They rarely hurt and do not turn into varicose veins. Fully developed varicose veins, on the other hand, can be disruptive to a quality life. Generally speaking, insurance companies, including Medicare, will extend coverage for vein treatments when they are deemed medically necessary. How do they decide? With various criteria such as the following.
- Varicose veins are significantly symptomatic.
If you have symptomatic varicose veins, you know it. They ache. They throb. Your skin may itch or burn or look discolored. Additional symptoms include skin ulcerations, phlebitis, and blood clots. Varicose veins can also be an underlying cause of restless legs syndrome. These are all indications that vein treatment may be medically necessary.
- Symptoms affect daily life.
Varicose veins that burn, itch, ache, and cramp can make it difficult to stand or sit for long periods. Some people with varicose vein symptoms have to take frequent breaks at work to put their feet up, even if they wear compression stockings. Being unable to work a full-time job is also a sign that vein treatment is medically necessary, as is being unable to stand long enough to cook meals or do household chores comfortably.
- Conservative treatment for 6-12 weeks.
One of the guidelines that seems to be consistent across most insurance companies is the requirement to have tried conservative vein therapies for a period of several weeks. Many companies require patients to wear medical grade compression stockings for 6 to 12 weeks before they will approve vein treatment like sclerotherapy or endovenous laser ablation. Medical grade compression stockings usually have to be prescribed by a physician. A vascular specialist may be the perfect doctor to do this.
Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center offers state-of-the-art vascular and vein disease treatment. We serve all of Suffolk County. To schedule a consultation, contact an office near you.