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Does Medicare Pay for Varicose Vein Treatment?

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By Daniel Petkevich
Nov 18, 2022

The answer could save you money

Varicose veins, also known as spider veins, can appear as you age. In some instances, you might be able get Medicare coverage for the various forms of varicose vein treatment if your doctor deems them to be medically necessary.

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Read more to find out how much money you could save by utilizing Medicare coverage to treat varicose veins.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that you can see just under the surface of your skin. They might look blue or purple. They can vary in size and be found anywhere on the body but are often found on the legs. Varicose veins form when the valves in your veins don't work properly. This lets blood flow backward and puts pressure on the vein walls. Vein problems often run in families.

What are the treatment options for varicose veins?

When it comes to treating varicose veins, there are several options. Your doctor may recommend that you wear compression stockings or use a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Surgery is another option for more severe cases. This includes procedures like sclerotherapy, micro sclerotherapy, Venaseal, endovenous laser therapy (EVLT), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), and ambulatory phlebectomy.

Does Medicare cover any of these treatments?

Medicare generally doesn’t pay for cosmetic procedures, including varicose vein treatment. If it's primarily for cosmetic purposes, you will have to pay the cost out-of-pocket. However, if your doctor determines the procedure is medically necessary, then Medicare may pay for it. It's important to note that Medicare requires pre-authorizations from your doctor before they will approve coverage for this type of treatment. In some cases, Medicare may also require you to get a second opinion from another doctor before coverage is approved.
If Medicare covers it, that means they will pay 80% of the cost. You will be responsible for the remaining 20%. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you may be able to get coverage for the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover.

How much will the surgery cost?

The cost of varicose vein treatments varies widely, depending on the particular procedure and where you have it done. Generally speaking, sclerotherapy costs between $350-$600 per treatment. EVLT can range from $1,200 - $3,000 per session. Ambulatory phlebectomy typically starts at around $2,000 for a single leg. Speak with a medical professional and shop around your area for the best estimate of what you might expect to pay.
It's important to keep in mind that these costs don’t include any fees associated with doctor visits or pre-authorizations required by Medicare before they will approve coverage for the procedure. You should also factor in how much your Medicare Supplement plan may contribute towards covering the remaining 20% not paid for by Medicare.

What are the side effects associated with surgery?

The side effects associated with varicose vein treatments can vary depending on the type of surgery you have. Generally, they include bruising, tenderness and swelling in the area where the procedure was done. Other more serious side effects can occur such as infection or blood clots. It's important to talk to your doctor about any risks associated with the procedure before you decide to proceed.

How long will it take to recover from surgery?

Recovery time can also vary depending on the type of surgery you have and your individual health situation. Generally speaking, it takes a few weeks for the treated area to heal. During this time, you should avoid strenuous exercise or activities that may put a strain on the area. In some cases, it may take up to six months before you see full results from the treatment.

Are there any alternative treatments available?

In addition to surgery, there are some alternative treatments available for varicose veins. These include lifestyle changes such as wearing compression stockings, losing weight and exercising regularly. Other options include laser treatments or injections of special medications into the affected veins. These treatments may not be as effective as surgery, but they can often help reduce symptoms such as pain and swelling. It's important to talk to your doctor about what treatment is best for you before making a decision.

How can you prevent varicose veins from developing?

There are several things you can do to help prevent varicose veins from developing. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time can all help. Wearing compression stockings or elevating your legs can also reduce pressure in the affected area and make it less likely for new varicose veins to form. Eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C and E can also help improve circulation and strengthen your veins. It’s important to talk with your doctor about what steps you should take to prevent varicose veins from occurring or worsening.


If you think you need varicose vein treatment, talk to your doctor about the available options and how Medicare coverage works with them. This content is for informational purposes only. With your doctor, you can make an informed decision on your care. For questions about what Medicare plan is right for you, give us a call at 1-888-376-2028 to speak with a Medicare expert today.

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