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If you have an itchy skin rash, an abnormal mole, or an unsightly scar, you may wish to see a dermatologist. According to the American Board of Dermatology, a dermatologist is a physician who can treat benign (harmless) and malignant (cancerous) disorders of the skin, hair, nails, and adjacent mucous membranes. “Derm” means “skin” and “ology” means “science,” forming the word “dermatology” according to dictionary.com.
If you’ve had a skin cancer scare or diagnosis, you are not alone. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. Dermatology can diagnose and treat skin cancer, melanomas, moles, and other tumors of the skin, according to the American Board of Dermatology. Dermatology can also treat inflammation of the skin caused by irritants or eczema, according to the Mayo Clinic.
You also may wish to make a dermatology appointment for a variety of cosmetic disorders related to the skin, including hair loss or skin changes associated with aging such as wrinkles.
Before you make a dermatology appointment, you may want to be sure your insurance covers dermatology.
In general, Medicare covers services that are “medically necessary.” Medicare may not cover dermatology services that are cosmetic (intended to improve the appearance). Some cosmetic procedures that Medicare generally doesn’t cover include hair loss treatment and cosmetic surgery.
The answers to “does Medicare cover dermatology” is “it may depend.” If you have a cancerous growth on your nose, Medicare may cover the removal of this growth by dermatologist. However, if you have a healthy mole on your face that you want removed for appearance reasons, Medicare may not cover dermatology in this case.
If your dermatology appointment involves an outpatient checkup or procedure that is medically necessary, you will generally be covered by Medicare Part B (medical insurance). Under Medicare Part B, you generally pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for a dermatology appointment and other doctor visits. A Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan may cover all or part of the Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment. You may also have to pay a deductible.
If you are covered by Medicare Advantage, you may pay a different copayment or coinsurance amount. Medicare Advantage plans sometimes make you pay more out of pocket for specialist appointments than primary care appointments. Some Medicare Advantage plans also require you to get a referral from your primary care physician to see a dermatologist.
To find a dermatologist near you that accepts Medicare, you can use Medicare’s “physician compare” tool. To use the tool, simply type in your city and state and the keyword “dermatology.” Doctors and medical groups within 15 miles of your location should appear in the search results. You may also ask your primary care physician to give you a recommendation for a dermatologist.
To find a Medicare plan that may cover dermatology, enter your zip code on this page.
eHealth's Medicare website is operated by eHealthInsurance Services, Inc., a licensed health insurance agency doing business as eHealth. The purpose of this site is the solicitation of insurance. Contact may be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company. eHealth and Medicare supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. We offer plans from a number of insurance companies.