September 23, 2021
In a previous blog article we discussed how convoluted and complex NHS rules can be when it comes to public health coverage for varicose vein treatments.
Not only are they complex, but they also might not provide treatment for vein disease until it has progressed and caused unnecessary pain and suffering, while potentially leading to more serious health complications.
Thankfully, there are other ways. If you have Private Medical Insurance (PMI), you have more options for treatment without breaking the bank. And with over a quarter of Londoners (and 8 million people in the UK) having PMI, this makes it possible for thousands of people to have increased access to treatments such as the minimally invasive procedures we have at UK Vein Clinic.
PMI for Varicose Veins
Since varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue and can seriously affect your circulatory system, most insurance providers will cover their treatment.
If your varicose veins are causing you pain and discomfort, PMI will usually cover treatment even if there’s no skin damage, with many insurers covering common treatments such as radiofrequency ablation and sclerotherapy. However, if they are not causing you pain and discomfort and you want to treat your varicose veins only for cosmetic reasons, some private insurance companies might not cover the costs of your procedure.
You should note that if your PMI offers you coverage for a treatment, your varicose veins may still come back. When you go get your treatment, talk to your vascular specialist and ask what the chances are of that happening. And if it does happen, you can get in touch with your insurance provider; sometimes they can offer you another procedure since it is not uncommon for varicose veins to return.
Your doctor or vascular specialist may recommend wearing compression stockings to help manage the aching and swelling that results from varicose veins. In later stages of vein disease, compression socks might help manage and alleviate some of the symptoms, but they are not a substitute for treatment.
How to Find Out If You’re Eligible
First of all, you can read your insurance policy to find out if varicose vein treatments are included. Usually, unless they are specifically excluded, there is no reason why they should not be covered (as long as you meet the other criteria).
You usually have to go for a medical consultation and, based on the results, your insurer will assess whether or not you are eligible for funding. Most of the time to get to this consultation, you must have a letter of referral from your GP. If you are unsure if a GP referral is required, call your insurer to find out.
If your varicose veins are related to another underlying health issue, you should make that clear with your private insurer as it may help them to make a decision in your favour. If you are denied PMI coverage, you can try to follow up with your insurance provider to gain a better understanding and - if possible - contest the denial.
If your insurer approves your request for coverage, they will usually give you an authorisation number, which you would then have to take with you to the treatment. This way you can be certain that the costs of your treatment will be covered before the procedure takes place.
You may also need another authorisation code from your provider when you go back to the vascular specialist for a follow-up appointment. Sometimes the insurer will authorise a follow-up session after your consultation rather than for the treatment itself.
Another important factor you should be aware of is that it is unlikely your private insurer will authorise both a consultation and treatment on the same day. This is because many of them will want to see the results of a scan before they decide to proceed with an authorisation for treatment.
Here at the UK Vein Clinic, we recently signed partnerships with two of the largest private medical insurers in the UK: AXA and Bupa. While that gives those insured by these two companies easier access to our specialist services, it is possible for you to get treatment here using insurance from many other PMI providers.