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Are Orthotics Covered by Insurance?

Foot pain can be a real drag, impacting your daily activities and overall well-being. Orthotics, custom-made shoe inserts, can offer much-needed relief and support. But the question often arises:  Are orthotics covered by insurance? or Will insurance help cover the cost?  Let's look into the world of insurance and orthotics to answer this burning question.


Are Orthotics Covered by Medicare Insurance:


  • Original Medicare (Parts A & B): While Medicare Part B covers some durable medical equipment (DME), standard orthotics typically aren't included.
  • However, there's a silver lining for diabetics with severe foot complications. Medicare may cover custom-made shoes and inserts in such cases. However, only if medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor.
  • Key requirements: You'll typically need a doctor's prescription and documentation outlining the medical necessity for orthotics.
  • Out-of-pocket costs: Expect deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance depending on your specific Medicare plan.

Medicare Advantage Plans:


  • These private plans offered by approved insurance companies often provide additional coverage beyond traditional Medicare. Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover orthotics, but it depends on the specific plan and its benefits.
  • Crucial Step: Always check your individual plan details (member handbook, online portal, or by contacting your provider) to understand the specifics of orthotic coverage, including requirements, limitations, and potential costs.

Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap):


  • These plans primarily supplement Original Medicare to cover deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
  • Orthotic Coverage: Medigap plans typically don't cover orthotics directly.

a pair of orthotics next to the body of a doctor with hands around a medical case to answer are orthotics covered by insurance

Are orthotics covered by FSA? Are orthotics covered by HSA?


Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs):


Expanding Your Options:


Beyond traditional insurance, consider these avenues for covering your orthotics:


  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA): Funds in these accounts can be used to pay for pre-tax qualified medical expenses, including doctor-prescribed orthotics.

    • Check with your plan administrator to ensure orthotics are covered under your specific FSA plan.
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSA): Similar to FSAs, HSAs allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars for qualified medical expenses, including orthotics.

    • Consult your HSA provider to confirm coverage and eligibility requirements.
  • Manufacturer Rebates, Insurance Provider Discounts, Direct Lab Savings: Some manufacturers and insurance providers offer rebates or discounts on orthotics.

    • Explore your options to potentially reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Are Orthotics Considered DME?


  • Technically, custom-made orthotics can be classified as DME. However, Medicare coverage for DME typically requires a doctor's prescription and meeting specific criteria, which may not always apply to standard orthotics.

a fsa hsa card

So, Are Orthotics Worth It?


While insurance coverage can be a deciding factor, the ultimate answer depends on your individual needs and situation. If you're experiencing chronic foot pain, orthotics can significantly improve your comfort and mobility. Consider the potential benefits even if there's out-of-pocket expense:


  • Reduced pain and discomfort: Addressing conditions like plantar fasciitis, heel pain, and arthritis can make a world of difference in your daily life.
  • Improved balance and stability: Orthotics can enhance proprioception (your body's awareness of its position in space), leading to better balance and a reduced risk of falls.
  • Enhanced athletic performance: Orthotics can provide optimal support and shock absorption, leading to improved performance and reduced risk of injury.
  • Prevention of further foot problems: Addressing underlying biomechanical issues with orthotics can help prevent future foot problems and maintain overall foot health.

Remember, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial to determine if orthotics are right for you and explore coverage options based on your specific insurance plan.


They can assess your needs, recommend the appropriate type of orthotic, and provide guidance on navigating insurance coverage.


Additional Tips:


  • Ask a healthcare professional about generic or over-the-counter orthotics. They might be a more affordable option if not covered by insurance.
  • Shop around for different providers of orthotics. Prices can vary depending on the location and materials used.
  • Consider the long-term benefits. While the upfront cost may seem high, the potential pain relief and improved foot health can outweigh the cost.

Stepping towards comfort starts here! Invest in your feet, and explore the world pain-free.


a doctor recommending orthotics to answer are orthotics covered by insurance

Navigating insurance coverage for orthotics can feel like a maze, but understanding some additional details can make the process smoother:


  • Types of Orthotics:

    • Coverage may vary depending on the type of orthotic you need. Custom-made orthotics typically receive greater coverage compared to over-the-counter options.
    • Discuss your needs with your doctor to determine the most suitable orthotic type for your condition.
  • Pre-Authorization:

    • Some insurance plans require pre-authorization before covering orthotics. This involves obtaining approval from your insurance company before receiving treatment.
    • Your doctor will typically handle the pre-authorization process, but it's a good idea to be familiar with your plan's requirements.
  • Appealing Denials:

    • If your insurance claim for orthotics is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision.
    • Gather documentation from your doctor supporting the medical necessity of orthotics for your condition.
    • Familiarize yourself with your plan's appeals process and deadlines.
  • Alternatives to Consider:

    • If insurance coverage isn't ideal or orthotics aren't a viable option, explore alternative approaches to managing foot pain.
    • Supportive Footwear: Invest in shoes specifically designed with built-in arch support and cushioning.
    • Physical Therapy: Exercises and physical therapy can help strengthen muscles and improve foot function.
    • Icing and Pain Relief Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers and topical treatments can offer temporary pain relief.

Maintaining Healthy Feet:

Orthotics can be a valuable tool for managing foot pain and improving mobility, but they're not a magic bullet. Maintaining good foot health goes beyond orthotics and includes these practices:


  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight puts additional stress on your feet.
  • Stretch Regularly: Stretching your feet and calves can improve flexibility and reduce tightness.
  • Choose Proper Footwear: Opt for well-fitting, supportive shoes with adequate cushioning.
  • Take Care of Your Feet: Regularly wash and dry your feet, and moisturize to prevent dryness and cracking.

By understanding insurance coverage, exploring alternative solutions, and practicing good foot health habits, you can take a proactive approach to managing foot pain and keeping your feet happy! 

Here's the takeaway:


  • Insurance coverage for orthotics varies depending on your plan and specific circumstances.
  • Medicare may cover them under certain conditions.
  • FSAs and HSAs can be used to pay for orthotics.
  • The potential benefits of orthotics in terms of pain relief, improved mobility, and injury prevention can outweigh the cost.

Bonus Tip:  


Explore online resources provided by your insurance company or Medicare for detailed information on covered services and reimbursement procedures.


Remember, consulting your doctor is the best way to determine if orthotics are right for you and explore your insurance coverage options. They can assess your needs, recommend the appropriate type of orthotic, and guide you through the insurance process.


By understanding your insurance coverage and the potential benefits of orthotics, you can make an informed decision about investing in your foot health and taking a step towards a pain-free future! With the right support, both literally and figuratively, you can step towards a pain-free and active future!


Helpful links:

1. Medicare Coverage for Orthotics & Shoes (Medicare.gov): https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/therapeutic-shoes-inserts

  • Explains Medicare coverage for custom-molded shoes, inserts, and shoe modifications.

2. Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Information (IRS.gov): https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf

  • Provides official information on FSAs and eligible medical expenses, including potential coverage for orthotics.

3. Health Savings Account (HSA) Information (IRS.gov): https://www.irs.gov/publications/p969

  • Offers details on HSAs and qualified medical expenses, potentially covering doctor-prescribed orthotics.

4. American Academy of Podiatric Medicine (AAPM): https://www.apma.org/

  • Provides general information about orthotics and their benefits for foot health.

5. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): https://www.niams.nih.gov/

  • Offers information on foot health conditions that orthotics can help manage (e.g., plantar fasciitis).

6. AARP - Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans (Medigap): https://www.aarp.org/membership/benefits/insurance/uhc-medicare-supplement/

  • Explains Medigap plans and their limited coverage for orthotics (supplementing Original Medicare).

7. State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP): https://www.shiphelp.org/

  • Connects you with your state's SHIP program to get personalized guidance on insurance coverage for orthotics.

8. National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU): https://welcometonahu.org/

  • Provides resources for finding a qualified health insurance agent who can explain your specific coverage for orthotics.

9. Consumer Reports - How to Appeal a Denied Insurance Claim: https://advocacy.consumerreports.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Companies-Continue-to-Share-Health-Data-1-16-2024-Consumer-Reports.pdf

  • Offers general tips and steps on appealing a denied insurance claim for medical equipment like orthotics.

10. Nolo - Understanding Health Insurance: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/medicare-long-term-care

  • Provides a comprehensive resource on understanding health insurance policies and navigating coverage details.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health. If you have any questions about your health or are experiencing any medical problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention based on the information provided in this article.