Are Compression Sleeves Covered by Medicare

It’s disheartening to discover that despite being a comprehensive healthcare program, Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for the majority of compression garments. While Medicare does extend coverage for cancer surgeries, lymphedema therapies, and treatments for other swelling disorders, the exclusion of compression sleeves from it’s coverage leaves 99% of Medicare recipients responsible for bearing the financial burden. This revelation raises concerns about the accessibility and affordability of essential medical supplies for those in need, highlighting the underlying discrepancies in Medicare's coverage policies.

Are Compression Stockings Covered by Medicare?

In such cases, Medicare may cover the cost. The reason why compression stockings aren’t typically covered is because they aren’t classified as durable medical equipment (DME) by Medicare. However, if your doctor deems them necessary for the treatment of venous stasis ulcers, which are wounds caused by poor blood circulation, Medicare may provide coverage.

Compression stockings are designed to improve blood flow in the legs by applying graduated pressure, which can help alleviate swelling, prevent blood clots, and promote healing. While they’re widely recognized as an effective treatment option, Medicare doesn’t typically include them as part of it’s coverage. This can make it challenging for individuals who rely on compression stockings for managing their symptoms to afford these necessary medical devices.

There may be other treatment options or strategies available that are covered by Medicare and can help you achieve relief from your symptoms. Additionally, it could be worthwhile to research other potential sources of financial assistance for obtaining compression stockings, such as non-profit organizations or discount programs.

How to Properly Measure and Fit Compression Stockings for Maximum Benefit

  • Start by choosing the right compression level for your needs. Check with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate level for your condition.
  • Measure your legs in the morning when they’re least swollen. Use a flexible measuring tape and measure at the widest part of each leg.
  • Take measurements for both the ankle circumference and calf circumference. Write down these measurements for reference.
  • Refer to the sizing chart provided by the stocking manufacturer to determine the correct size based on your measurements.
  • Consider the length of the stocking based on your needs. Compression stockings are available in various lengths, including knee-high, thigh-high, and full-length options.
  • When trying on the stockings, ensure that your legs are dry and free from any lotion or oil. This will help the stockings stay in place throughout the day.
  • Gently roll up the stocking, starting at the toe area. Put your foot into the stocking and slowly unroll it up your leg, making sure it’s positioned correctly and evenly.
  • Smooth out any wrinkles or bunching of the fabric to ensure a comfortable fit. Avoid excessive stretching of the fabric, as this may reduce the compression effectiveness.
  • Make sure the top band of the stocking doesn’t dig into your skin or cause discomfort. It should stay securely in place without cutting off circulation.
  • Once you’ve both stockings on, walk around and ensure that they feel comfortable and provide the desired level of compression.
  • If you experience any pain, discomfort, or difficulty breathing while wearing compression stockings, consult your healthcare provider for further guidance.
  • Replace your compression stockings as recommended by the manufacturer or your healthcare provider, as elastic fibers may lose their effectiveness over time.

Lymphedema, a condition characterized by swelling in the limbs, poses challenges for many patients seeking Medicare coverage. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for the application of lymphedema compression bandages, as it falls under the category of unskilled services. This limitation can leave individuals grappling with the financial burdens associated with managing this chronic condition.

Is Lymphedema Covered by Medicare?

Is lymphedema covered by Medicare? This is a commonly asked question for individuals seeking reimbursement for their lymphedema treatment.

Lymphedema is a chronic condition that causes swelling in the arms or legs due to a blockage or damage to the lymphatic system. It can be a debilitating condition that requires ongoing management and treatment. Compression bandages are an essential component of lymphedema therapy as they help to reduce swelling, improve circulation, and support the affected limbs.

However, Medicare views the application of compression bandages as an unskilled service, meaning that it can be performed by individuals without specialized medical training. As a result, Medicare doesn’t consider this service to be eligible for coverage under it’s guidelines. This can be disappointing for those with lymphedema who rely on compression bandages for symptom management and improved quality of life.

Some private insurance plans may offer coverage for this service, so it’s important for individuals to review their policy and consult with their insurance provider to determine their coverage options.

However, coverage may be available for other aspects of lymphedema treatment.

Source: Article – Lymphedema Decongestive Treatment (A55710) – CMS

Now let’s delve into the details of why a doctor’s prescription is typically required when obtaining compression socks with higher levels of compression.

Can a Doctor Write a Prescription for Compression Socks?

Doctors have the authority to prescribe compression socks or stockings for patients who require higher levels of compression. Through a medical examination, doctors can determine the specific strength needed to effectively treat certain conditions. While it isn’t legally mandatory to have a prescription for compression wear, many pharmacies adhere to a policy that restricts the dispensing of higher-level compression garments without a doctors prescription. This practice aims to ensure that patients receive the appropriate level of support and compression for their specific condition.

These conditions often require specific pressure levels to alleviate symptoms, promote blood circulation, and reduce swelling. Doctors consider factors such as the severity of the condition, the patients overall health, and any potential contraindications before prescribing compression wear.

The process typically involves a doctor evaluating the patients medical history, conducting a physical examination, and assessing any relevant diagnostic test results. Based on this information, the doctor determines the appropriate compression strength required.

By requiring a prescription, pharmacies can ensure that patients receive proper guidance and support from healthcare professionals. Additionally, this practice contributes to the responsible use of compression wear and minimizes the likelihood of individuals self-diagnosing and treating conditions without medical supervision.

This helps ensure that the compression garment they select is adequately suited to their specific medical needs.


Astonishingly, an overwhelming 99% of Medicare beneficiaries are left to bear the financial burden of purchasing compression sleeves independently. This unjust reality sheds light on the need for reassessment and potential amends to ensure comprehensive healthcare coverage for those in need.

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