Thousands of seniors wear compression stockings to help prevent or treat conditions such as edema, phlebitis, thrombosis, or diabetic foot problems. These conditions are not only painful, but they can also be life-threatening – even leading to cardiac collapse or pulmonary embolism.
Compression stockings boost blood circulation in the legs which helps prevent dangerous blood clots and aid in healing leg ulcers that can be caused by poor circulation. All this happens because compression socks are made from a strong, specialized elastic material that massages the legs, increases pressure, compresses the veins, and reduces vein diameter which increases blood flow volume and velocity. These actions work together to gently force blood upwards and back to the heart rather than pooling in the lower legs and ankles.
Your health care provider might prescribe compression stockings for you if your risk for health complications is increased by conditions such as:
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Venous ulcers
- Painful varicose veins
Here’s a look at whether Medicare insurance can help you cover the cost of compression stockings.
Do your Medicare benefits cover compression stockings?
Original Medicare Part B (medical insurance) covers a portion of the cost for compression stockings only if your physician or other health care provider prescribes them as a type of medically necessary dressing for a wound. For example, if you have venous stasis leg ulcers (open wounds) caused by poor circulation and blood pooling, your health care provider can prescribe compression therapy using compression stockings and wound dressings to treat this condition.
If the prescribing physician accepts Medicare assignment, Original Medicare Part B pays for 80 percent of the final approved cost for the stockings. You pay the remaining 20 percent coinsurance cost after you have met your annual Part B deductible.
If you purchase the compression stockings from a durable medical equipment supplier, the supplier must also accept Medicare assignment for you to have Medicare coverage.
If you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan,you are guaranteed to have, at minimum, all the benefits you’d have through Original Medicare Parts A and B. Therefore, if you meet the Medicare qualification requirements for coverage of compression stockings, your Part C plan must cover its share of the cost for them.
Each Part C plan has its own coinsurance and copayment charges, so what you pay for coinsurance depends on your individual plan. Some Medicare Advantage plans also provide enrollees with a monthly over-the-counter medication and medical product allowance. If you have this, you might be able to use it to pay for compression stockings at a pharmacy that works with your Part C plan’s network of providers.
How much do compression stockings cost without Medicare coverage?
Compression stockings are popular items that are easy to find. You can purchase them online from well-known retail sites, or you can buy them in person at your neighborhood pharmacy or big-box chain store.
Because there’s such a wide range of styles, sizes, and material strength categories, it’s difficult to give a single price for a pair, but the most expensive stockings are around $60.00. On average, a pair of compression stockings with medium strength compression run between $30.00 and $35.00.