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Varicose Vein Treatment
You can get cover for varicose vein treatment with Medicare or a Silver Insurance Policy. Find out the costs of both below.
There are several causes for varicose veins. Symptoms can range from mild pain to swelling and leg cramps, and serious complications can develop with the condition over time if you don't take the proper steps.
Luckily, there are a range of varicose vein treatments available. This guide will help you figure out your treatment options and what kind of healthcare you'll need to cover the costs.
What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins occur when valves in your veins are weakened or damaged. There are a number of reasons people develop varicose veins.
- Eldery: Many people develop varicose veins as they get older. Often this is simply an aspect of old age – the veins that regulate blood flow deteriorate – and there's little you can do to prevent it.
- Women: Women are more likely to develop the condition, often during pregnancy but also as a result of hormonal changes like menopause. Hormone treatments like the contraceptive pill may also play a part in contributing to varicose veins.
- Genetics: It's possible that varicose veins are hereditary, so there's a greater chance that you will develop them as you get older if other people in your family have the condition.
- Health: A poor diet, smoking and obesity can increase your risk. It's also important that you don't sit and stand still for long periods of time.
Varicose vein treatment
Treatments for varicose veins will depend on how severe your symptoms are. You should consult your GP to see what possible treatments are best for you. Some of these may include:
- Compression stockings: This helps reduce swelling and prevents too much blood from gathering in the veins. The stockings put more pressure on the ankle of your leg so as to help the blood flow upwards, towards the heart.
- Lifestyle changes: For milder cases, a healthy diet and exercise can make all the difference to your varicose veins. This will improve blood flow in your feet and legs, potentially alleviating symptoms like pain and mild cramps.
- Surgery & therapy: For more serious cases, Endovenous therapy or medical foam injections may be the most appropriate solution. In different ways, these prevent blood from flowing through the unhealthy veins and stop it pooling there. Surgery is sometimes required, though these days, less-invasive techniques prove equally as effective.
Will Medicare cover varicose vein treatment?
To be eligible for a Medicare rebate, the procedure needs to be medically necessary and not simply a cosmetic issue. Veins also need to be 2.5mm or more in diameter. You will find treatment for varicose veins under Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers 32523, 32500, 32504 and 32507.
Medicare will cover between 75% and 85% of the costs, so the fee you will pay will depend on the severity of your case. Here is a breakdown of some of the costs you should expect:
- 32507, 32523: If you require more complicated treatment such as sub-fascial surgical exploration, the Medicare fee is $533.60. This means you would pay around $80.
- 32504: Multiple excisions of tributaries will likely cost around $40.
- 32500: Milder cases may require injections of sclerosant using compression methods, generally costing between $15 and $20.
Private health insurance for varicose veins
Private surgery for varicose veins is available and is generally covered under heart and vascular system services. This can be covered under a silver or gold policy. A silver policy generally costs around $20* a week and will usually cover surgery as well as laser and endovenous therapies.
It's unlikely that you will find cover for varicose veins with a basic or bronze policy. However, silver and gold policies are generally more suited to seniors and couples with children, or those who are planning to have children.
Like Medicare, private surgery for varicose veins must be medically necessary to be covered by the majority of insurers. The removal of spider veins, for instance, usually isn't covered by insurance as it's often only done for cosmetic reasons. Check with your insurance company to find out what treatment options you are covered for. If you don't require hospital treatment, you might not be covered.
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