In Elder Law News

Orthopedist wearing mask checks patient's foot.From plantar fasciitis to varicose veins, there are numerous bothersome ailments that can crop up and cause chronic foot or leg pain or related issues. For Medicare to cover the costs of addressing these types of health conditions, a physician typically must first deem such treatment medically necessary.

Here are three such diagnoses for which you may likely find some help in covering treatment costs through Medicare:

Does Medicare Cover Bunion Surgery?

A bunion is a painful bump that can form at the base of the big toe joint. When necessary, bunions can be removed surgically. There are several types of bunion surgery, with the average cost of this procedure running between roughly $3,000 and $12,000.

If your podiatrist finds this surgery medically necessary, Medicare Part B can help pay for 80 percent of the cost. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, this type of surgery may be covered to some extent as well. Keep in mind that Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) may offer its beneficiaries access only to certain health care providers.

If you have a Medicare Part D plan, your post-surgical prescription medications may be covered.

Is Treatment for Varicose Veins Covered?

Veins that swell and bulge, most often in the legs, can be uncomfortable and painful. They also may lead to circulation problems or other complications. Known as varicose veins, this condition affects tens of millions of adults.

Surgery or ablation therapy to remove varicose veins can total between $600 and $3,000. Less-invasive laser treatment may require more than one session, and so can cost up to $7,000. Other techniques to ease symptoms may also be available.

If your doctor orders that medical treatment is necessary — often only after you have already tried other, more conservative approaches to managing the condition — Medicare Part B will generally pay 80 percent of the related cost if your deductible is met. The facility where you receive treatment must qualify for Medicare coverage. You may also need to cover the cost of any medications or copays. Certain Medicare Advantage plans may also cover some of this treatment.

Removing varicose veins for cosmetic reasons will not be covered by Medicare.

Does Medicare Cover Orthotics?

Orthotics may include prostheses; a brace for your ankle, knee, or foot; or custom-fitted shoes or inserts for individuals with certain health conditions.

When deemed medically necessary by a podiatrist enrolled in Medicare, orthotics are considered durable medical equipment, for which Medicare Part B usually will cover 80 percent of the approved cost. Typically, the supplier from which you buy the orthotics must participate in Medicare as well.

Certain Medicare Advantage plans may also provide partial coverage of orthotics; be sure to check with your provider.

Learn more about Medicare on the website.

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