According to womenshealth.gov, nearly 55% of women, and 45% of men suffer from some type of vein problem, including varicose veins. Unfortunately, due to a lack of understanding of these issues and the complications that they can cause, many individuals do not seek help. Even those who are aware of their problems may avoid treatment, as they are not sure if their insurance will cover the costs. By taking just a few minutes to educate yourself on what varicose veins are and their treatment options, you can learn how to protect your health and get your insurance to cover any necessary procedures.
What are varicose veins, and when should they be treated?
Varicose veins are swollen veins that may look like tangled or protruding cords. These veins may appear to be blue, red, or skin colored, and are typically swollen or raised above the skin. Generally, varicose veins are found on thighs, the backs of calves, or the inside of legs. These types of veins are usually formed by weak or damaged valves, which then expands the veins due to a backup of blood. Age, hormonal changes, obesity, lack of movement, and sun exposure can all contribute to the cause of varicose veins. You should seek medical attention if your veins become tender or warm, if bleeding occurs, if the veins are causing pain that interferes with daily activities, or of there are sores or rashes near your ankle.
How can I get my insurance to cover the treatment of varicose veins?
According to the Mayo Clinic, most insurers will not cover the treatment of varicose veins for cosmetic purposes. Typically, however, varicose veins can lead to health complications and discomfort that can justify treatment. In these five cases, your insurance agency should cover the treatment of your varicose veins:
1. You are experiencing bleeding – If the skin over your varicose veins becomes thin or easily injured, you could experience significant blood loss. If this is the case, treatment will be necessary in order to preserve your health.
2. You have sores or skin ulcers – If sores or ulcers have formed as a result of long-term varicose veins, they may be very painful and difficult to heal. Often, these abrasions cannot heal until the backflow of blood in your veins has been repaired. If this is the only, your insurance should take care of it.
3. Superficial thrombophlebitis is evident – This is a blood clot that forms in a varicose vein just beneath the surface of the skin. If you notice symptoms like skin redness, tender or warm veins, or pain and swelling, you should see your doctor to see if a clot is present. If treatment is needed to remove the clot, your insurance should green-light the procedure.
4. Deep vein thrombosis is evident – This is when a blood clot forms in a deeper vein. If you experience a “pulling” feeling in your calf, or any pain, warmth redness or swelling, contact your doctor quickly. If the clot travels to the lung, it can be fatal. Because of this, your insurance agency will pay for the removal of the clot and preventive treatment of your varicose veins.
5. All else has failed – Often, insurers may want you to try alternative treatments, like increased physical activity, weight loss, compression stockings, etc. before covering more expensive treatments. If, after several months, these methods have not improved pain or other conditions, your doctor may recommend surgical procedures to be covered by your insurance.
Varicose veins should not be taken lightly. Monitor them closely, and seek medical attention should any alarming symptoms appear.
Nicole has been writing for the health industry for years. She recommends Intermountain Vein Center as a great varicose vein treatment center.