Does Medicare Cover Varicose Vein Treatment?

Navigating the coverage of varicose vein treatment through Medicare can be straightforward once you know the rules. One question that often arises is, “does Medicare cover varicose vein treatment?”

Medicare typically covers treatments deemed medically necessary by your healthcare provider. This article explains when varicose vein treatment falls under this category, the specific treatments Medicare covers, and what you might expect to pay out-of-pocket.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicare covers varicose vein treatments when deemed medically necessary, which is determined by a specialist based on conservative therapy outcomes and associated health risks.


  • Treatments such as surgery, laser therapy, and sclerotherapy are covered by Medicare if symptoms persist after conservative treatment, though costs vary, and additional out-of-pocket expenses can apply.


  • Medicare Advantage plans also cover medically necessary varicose vein treatments subject to network limitations and out-of-pocket costs, and Medigap can help cover additional expenses not covered by original Medicare.

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Medicare and Varicose Vein Treatment: The Basics


Does Medicare Cover Varicose Vein Treatment?, Medicare and Varicose Vein Treatment: The Basics


Varicose veins, including their smaller counterparts known as spider veins, are more than just a cosmetic issue.

Smaller varicose veins, which are often referred to as spider veins, result from damage to the small valves inside the veins, leading to blood accumulation and potentially serious health complications. What treatment options are available for these problematic veins through Medicare?

Medicare provides coverage for varicose vein treatments when they are determined to be medically necessary due to health-related concerns.

But what does “medically necessary” mean, and who determines whether your treatment meets this criterion? We’ll explore the Medicare guidelines and the concept of medical necessity in the upcoming section.


Medical Necessity Criteria

The term ‘medically necessary’ pertains to healthcare services and supplies that are indispensable for the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, injuries, or conditions.

When it comes to varicose vein treatment, medical necessity is determined by a vein specialist based on your symptoms and potential health risks.

The specialist will consider whether you continue to experience symptoms after a period of conservative therapy or whether there are issues like hemorrhage in the case of spider veins, which can occur when varicose veins increase in severity.

Conservative treatment for varicose veins, which includes treating varicose veins with non-invasive methods, comprises measures such as:

  • Avoiding prolonged standing and straining


  • Elevating the affected leg


  • Maintaining an active lifestyle with exercise


  • Using external compression like graduated compression hosiery


  • Managing weight.


Types of Health Issues Related to Varicose Veins

Varicose veins, including bulging varicose veins, are not just a cosmetic concern. They can lead to a range of health conditions that can have a substantial impact on a patient’s overall well-being and quality of life, leading to:

  • Discomfort


  • Mobility challenges


  • Pain


  • Swelling


  • Venous insufficiency


Medicare provides coverage for health conditions related to varicose veins such as pain, swelling, and venous insufficiency.

Comprehending these health issues is vital for evaluating the medical necessity of varicose vein treatment.

The significance of these health issues in relation to medical coverage lies in the fact that they require treatments that may be eligible for coverage under Medicare if they are considered medically necessary, highlighting the importance of recognizing their impact on your health.

Covered Varicose Vein Treatments


Does Medicare Cover Varicose Vein Treatment?, Covered Varicose Vein Treatments


With the medical necessity established as a prerequisite for coverage, we’ll now discuss the types of varicose vein treatments that Medicare covers. Medicare provides coverage for a range of varicose vein treatments, such as surgery, laser therapy, and sclerotherapy.

Each treatment option has its own set of procedures and demonstrated efficacy. Here are the different treatment options for vein extraction:

  • Surgical intervention: This involves the extraction of the veins through minor incisions in the skin.


  • Laser therapy: This involves the application of laser energy to heat and seal off the vein.


  • Sclerotherapy: This involves injecting a chemical solution into the vein that causes it to swell, stick together, and seal shut.


But how does Medicare coverage cater to these different treatments? We’ll look at them individually in the subsequent sections.


Varicose Vein Surgery

Varicose vein surgery is indeed covered by Medicare. This includes various treatment options such as sclerotherapy, ligation with or without stripping, and endogenous radiofrequency or laser ablation.

However, Medicare coverage is contingent upon you remaining symptomatic after attempting conservative therapy for a period.

The estimated expense for varicose vein surgery can vary, with vein stripping surgeries generally ranging in price from $1,500 to $3,000, exclusive of facility fees.

The precise cost will be contingent on the type of surgery and the location where it is conducted. It’s also important to be aware of potential supplementary expenses that could elevate the overall cost of the surgery, such as facility or surgery center fees.


Laser Therapy for Varicose Veins

Laser therapy for varicose veins may fall under the Medicare coverage, with the typical cost range being between $2,000 and $7,000.

Medicare provides coverage for 80% of the expenses related to laser treatment for varicose veins, so you’ll need to cover the remaining 20% unless you have additional coverage.

While there are potential risks associated with laser therapy, such as infection, pain along the vein, bleeding, bruising, nerve damage, and redness or swelling, there are also several advantages. These include:

  • Effectiveness in addressing varicose veins


  • Being a minimally invasive procedure


  • Reduced inflammatory response


  • Lower likelihood of causing dark spots


  • Quicker recovery


Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins

Sclerotherapy for spider veins is another treatment option that is covered by Medicare, though only when it is considered medically necessary, usually in cases where the veins are twisted and enlarged.

In sclerotherapy, a specialized solution is injected into the vein, causing the vein walls to swell and seal shut. This results in the cessation of blood flow, and the vein gradually diminishes over the course of a few weeks.

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compare medicare advantage plans

Comparing Medicare Advantage Plans

Best Medicare Advantage Plans Available in My Area Comparing Medicare Advantage PlansComparing Medicare Advantage Plans requires evaluation of their costs, coverage, and provider networks. The average costs of Medicare Advantage Plans may vary according to various factors such as the specific plan, location, and coverage options.

Reviewing the Summary of Benefits for each plan can provide a comprehensive overview of the associated costs and help you make an informed decision.

Another crucial aspect to consider is the provider networks of Medicare Advantage Plans. Assessing provider networks is vital to ensure that your preferred healthcare providers are part of the plan’s network.

By consulting the plan’s provider directory, you can gain insights into the healthcare providers included in the network, ensuring you receive the highest level of coverage and the lowest out-of-pocket costs.


Comparing Costs and Coverage

Make sure you’re getting the most value for your money by comparing the costs and coverage of different Medicare Advantage Plans.

The cost of Medicare Advantage Plans is influenced by various factors, including payment methodology based on benchmarks, risk adjustment based on health status, and other characteristics of enrollees, as well as premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

In 2024, the average out-of-pocket limit for Medicare Advantage enrollees is estimated to be $4,835 for in-network services and $8,659 for both in-network and out-of-network services.

To compare the cost structures of various Medicare Advantage Plans, take into account monthly premiums, deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximums. A standard Medicare Advantage Plan generally includes coverage for hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription drugs, and additional benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing.

By examining the details of each plan, you can gain a better understanding of the coverage provided and make an informed decision based on your needs and budget.


Evaluating Provider Networks

Evaluating provider networks is an essential step in comparing Medicare Advantage Plans. The role of provider networks in Medicare Advantage Plans is to determine which healthcare providers and facilities are included in the plan’s network.

Generally, HMOs offer coverage only for care provided by in-network providers, while PPOs offer both in-network and out-of-network coverage, though at different cost levels.

By assessing provider networks and ensuring that your preferred healthcare providers are part of the plan’s network, you can make a more informed decision about which plan best suits your needs.

Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan

Best Medicare Advantage Plans Available in My Area Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage PlanYou can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during your Initial Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment Period, based on your eligibility. To enroll, you can contact 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) or enroll directly with the private insurer.

Medicare requires that individuals enroll, disenroll, or make changes to their Medicare Advantage plan during pre-determined enrollment periods.

The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage Plans is seven months in duration, including three months before, during, and after your 65th birthday.

If you miss this opportunity, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period under certain circumstances, such as changes in residence, loss of employer coverage, or eligibility for other government programs.

It’s important to refer to official sources for a full list of qualifying circumstances and to complete the application process within the specified timeframe.


Initial Enrollment Period

The Initial Enrollment Period is a crucial time to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. This 7-month window typically begins 3 months prior to your 65th birthday and ends either on the last day of your Part B initial enrollment period or the last day of the month after your 65th birthday.

During this period, you have the opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage or a Medicare drug plan, ensuring you have the coverage you need as you enter your golden years.


Special Enrollment Periods

Special Enrollment Periods allow you to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan outside of the Initial Enrollment Period under certain circumstances. If you experience certain life events or exceptional circumstances, such as losing your current health coverage, moving to a new area, or qualifying for Extra Help, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

These periods typically last for two months, providing you with an opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan tailored to your needs and circumstances.

Top Medicare Advantage Providers

When choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan, it’s important to consider the reputation and quality of the provider.

Top Medicare Advantage providers, ranked based on coverage, benefits, CMS ranking, financial health, and consumer feedback, include:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Humana
  • Aetna
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • Cigna
  • Anthem

These providers offer a variety of plans to suit your needs, preferences, and budget, ensuring you receive the best possible coverage and care, although benefits vary.

Navigating Additional Medicare Coverage Options

Best Medicare Advantage Plans Available in My Area Navigating Additional Medicare Coverage OptionsBeyond Medicare Advantage Plans, other Medicare coverage options are available for comprehensive coverage, such as Medicare Supplement Plans and Standalone Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).

Medicare Supplement Plans, also known as Medigap, provide supplemental coverage to fill the gaps in Original Medicare, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

Standalone Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) provide prescription drug coverage and can be added to Original Medicare or certain Medicare Advantage Plans.


Understanding Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement Plans, also known as Medigap, help fill gaps in Original Medicare coverage and can be used alongside Medicare Advantage Plans.

Offered by private insurance companies, these plans cover expenses such as deductibles, coinsurance, and excess charges, providing additional financial protection and helping to reduce out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

By complementing Original Medicare with a Medigap plan, you can ensure that you have comprehensive coverage tailored to your needs.


Exploring Standalone Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)

Standalone Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) provide prescription drug coverage and can be added to Original Medicare or certain Medicare Advantage Plans.

These voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefits are offered through private insurance companies approved by Medicare and provide Medicare beneficiaries with coverage for their prescription medications.

Standalone Prescription Drug Plans offer coverage for both generic and brand-name drugs, ensuring that you have access to the medications you need at an affordable price.


In conclusion, finding the best Medicare Advantage Plan available in your area is an essential step in securing the coverage you need while saving money.

By understanding the different types of plans, comparing costs and coverage, evaluating provider networks, and enrolling in the right plan during your Initial or Special Enrollment Period, you can ensure that you have comprehensive coverage tailored to your needs.

Don’t hesitate to explore additional Medicare coverage options, such as Medicare Supplement Plans and Standalone Prescription Drug Plans, to guarantee you have the best possible coverage for your healthcare needs.



Frequently Asked Questions


→  What is the biggest disadvantage of Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage plans may have limited provider networks, co-payment requirements, and annual caps on out-of-pocket spending, making them less flexible than Original Medicare.


→  Why are people leaving Medicare Advantage plans?

People are leaving Medicare Advantage plans due to excessive prior authorization denial rates, slow payments from insurers, and allegations of billing fraud from the federal government.


→  What is the best Medicare Advantage plan for 2025?

For the best Medicare Advantage plan in 2025, Humana is highly recommended based on its top ratings, positive customer feedback, wide selection of plans, and multiple $0-per-month options. Customers report high-quality care with Humana plans compared to AARP/UHC.


→  What additional benefits can I expect from a Medicare Advantage Plan?

With a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can expect additional benefits including prescription drug coverage, dental and vision coverage, hearing aids, fitness benefits, and other services such as mental health services.


→  How do I find Medicare Advantage Plans available in my area?

To find Medicare Advantage Plans available in your area, use Medicare’s Plan Finder Tool or contact State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) for more information.

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Russell Noga
( Medicare Expert )

Russell Noga is the CEO of ZRN Health & Financial Services, and head content editor of several Medicare insurance online publications. He has over 15 years of experience as a licensed Medicare insurance broker helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.