Does Private Health Insurance Cover Varicose Veins?

July 23, 2020
July 23, 2020 Dr Zil

Do you have private health insurance? If you do, and you have extras cover, there is a chance you are eligible for a rebate on products which help reduce the symptoms of varicose veins. But does that also include treatment? Does private health insurance cover varicose veins? It’s a complex subject, however, below are some guidelines on what generally is and isn’t covered.

Are varicose veins a medical issue or cosmetic issue?

Varicose veins form when vein valves become damaged. When your vein valves are functioning properly you don’t even know they’re there. But when they are damaged, a condition called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) can occur. If you’ve ever wondered what causes varicose veins, it’s most likely due to CVI, a type of vein disorder where the vein valves in your legs become damaged, making it extremely difficult for blood to return to the heart.

While varicose veins themselves aren’t an immediate cause for medical concern, they could be linked to cardiovascular issues and if left untreated, varicose veins could lead to more serious conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Therefore varicose veins should always undergo a medical examination. A vein specialist will conduct a venous ultrasound, to examine the cause and severity, then recommend a tailored treatment plan.

Read more: Varicose Vein Causes.

Treatment options

There are a few ways you can take care of your varicose veins. These include:

Self-care for symptom management

If you’re not ready for treatment, but are looking for help managing the symptoms of varicose veins. Symptoms include swollen legs, burning, aching or itchy skin, pain which intensifies after prolonged sitting or standing. Here are some options:

  • Compression stockings: wearing these will encourage healthy blood circulation to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Diet and exercise: staying in a healthy weight range will reduce pressure on the legs and promote blood flow while a diet low in salt will reduce swelling.
  • Natural remedies, vitamins and supplements can help reduce the severity of your symptoms. Read more here: Varicose Vein Natural Remedies.

Non-surgical treatment

Modern non-surgical treatments are minimally invasive, you can walk-in, walk-out and return to normal activities almost immediately. These treatments include:

  • Endovenous Laser Ablation: ideal for medium to large varicose veins.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation: ideal for medium to large varicose veins with some restrictions.
  • VenaSeal: ideal for smaller to medium-sized varicose veins
  • Sclerotherapy: ideal for small varicose veins and spider veins

Doctors perform the above treatments both in a hospital setting and in a private clinic.

Surgical Stripping

Traditional treatment which removes the varicose veins. It is usually carried out in hospital, under general anaesthetic and requires up to 4 weeks recovery.

Is treatment covered by Private Health Insurance?

Private surgery for varicose veins is generally covered with a silver or gold policy, it is available under the heart and vascular system services. To be covered by the majority of insurers, private surgery for varicose veins must be medically necessary, and in most cases, the surgery is only covered when conducted in-hospital. (source: Finder)

Medicare does cover a portion of varicose vein treatment, read more here: Are Varicose Vein Treatments covered by Medicare?

Does Private health insurance cover varicose veins?

If you have extras cover, there is a good chance you have access to medical-grade compression stockings which can be a game-changer when managing the symptoms of varicose veins.

The therapeutic effects of the VenoTrain compression stockings begin at the feet, with a comfort sole providing pressure relief at the heel and ball of the foot. The gradient compression stimulates blood circulation to relieve symptoms of varicose veins and the moisture-wicking material is breathable, soft and gentle on your skin so you can wear them all day.

Each year, roughly $4.5 billion worth of extras go unclaimed. This accounts for about half of all extras coverage and means that around half of the people reading this (who have PHI + extras) have rebates which could be used for health services and products like compression stockings.

For assistance selecting the correct size stockings, a size guide is available for both our knee-high and thigh-high stockings.

Some private health insurers offer up to $500 per year on compression garment rebates, so make sure you chat to your GP about your vein concerns and they can provide you with a script.

Diagram of a normal functioning vein with healthy vein valves, a varicose vein with damaged vein valves and then an image of how the varicose vein looks when compressed by wearing medical-grade compression stockings.

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive treatment program to treat varicose veins, with non-surgical laser treatment techniques. The benefits of laser treatment to patients are;

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call  1300 535 017. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.