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Your Guide to Medicare Coverage for Wart Removal
Does Medicare help pay for wart removal? If warts are giving you trouble, you’re probably eager to find out.
Good news! Medicare often does cover wart removal, but there are some rules and conditions you need to know about. Stick around to get the clear scoop on:
- The specific requirements to get Medicare to chip in for your wart removal
- How the coverage may vary if you’re on Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan
- Options for prescription wart medicines that Medicare Part D might cover
- Extra insurance choices that fill in gaps where Medicare leaves off
Stay with us to get all the important details, so you can make smart choices about your health care.
You can find a lot more information on the treatments, services and conditions Medicare covers in our article, What Does Medicare Cover?
Table of Contents
Does Medicare Cover Wart Removal?
The short answer is yes; Medicare will often cover the cost of wart removal. But this is not the case 100% of the time.
As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions must be met for Medicare to pay for your wart removal. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.
Original Medicare Coverage of Wart Removal
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for wart removal. This plan will grant coverage for wart removal if it is considered medically necessary. Your healthcare provider must first order the operation for Original Medicare.
However, if the wart removal procedure is done for a cosmetic reason, Original Medicare will not provide coverage. Original Medicare does not provide coverage for wart removal if they are done for cosmetic or non-medically necessary reasons.
Medicare Coverage Through Part A vs Part B
Coverage for wart removal is provided by Medicare Part A if your wart removal takes place while you are in an inpatient setting.
That being said, coverage for wart removal is mainly provided by Medicare Part B. That is because the procedure usually takes place in an outpatient setting. Once approved, Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of the costs of wart removal. You will pay for the remaining 20 percent.
Medicare Advantage Coverage of Wart Removal
Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for wart removal. These plans have to cover everything Original Medicare covers but also offer some additional benefits as well.
The specifics of what a plan covers and how much the out-of-pocket costs vary depending on your plan’s specifics.
Some Medicare Part C plans offer over-the-counter allowances, including at-home remedies for wart removal. However, these can vary by location and insurance provider.
Prescription Medications for Warts and Medicare Part D
Warts are small growths on the skin caused by a virus. They can be both visually unappealing and uncomfortable. Various treatments, including prescription medications, are available for warts.
Commonly prescribed treatments include:
- Salicylic acid: A topical medication that removes the skin’s top layer.
- Cryotherapy: A treatment that freezes the wart with liquid nitrogen.
- Interferon: A drug that enhances the immune system’s response to the virus.
- Bleomycin and 5-fluorouracil: These medications inhibit cell growth.
Medicare Part D coverage for these treatments varies by plan. Most Part D plans cover salicylic acid and cryotherapy, while some cover interferon, bleomycin, and 5-fluorouracil.
To determine if your Part D plan covers a specific treatment, it’s best to contact your plan directly.
Note that even if a wart treatment is covered, you may still be responsible for a copay or coinsurance. The amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket depends on your specific plan and medication.
If you’re uncertain about coverage, you can contact your Part D plan or use the Medicare Plan Finder tool to compare options.
Medigap Plans: Extended Coverage
Medigap plans are extra health insurance you can buy to cover costs that Original Medicare doesn’t, like copayments, deductibles, and some medications.
There are 10 different types, each offering various benefits. Some of these plans may even help pay for wart removal.
For example, Plan F takes care of 100% of the costs for doctor-approved wart removal. But not all Medigap plans offer this, so check with your insurance company or a Medicare agent to be sure.
Here’s a quick list of the 10 Medigap plans:
- Plan A: Covers basic hospital costs and coinsurance after Medicare pays.
- Plan B: Adds to Plan A by covering doctor visit coinsurance and copayments.
- Plan C: Includes everything in Plans A and B, plus some preventive services.
- Plan D: Offers all that Plan C does, but adds prescription drug coverage.
- Plan F: Covers everything in Plans A and B and includes preventive services and medications.
- Plan G: Like Plan F but no drug coverage.
- Plan K: Includes an annual spending limit for what you pay.
- Plan L: Similar to Plan K but adds some preventive services.
- Plan M: Like Plan L but doesn’t cover medications.
- Plan N: Similar to Plan M but has a higher deductible for drug coverage.
To find the best fit for you, compare plans and get quotes from different insurance companies.
How Much Does Wart Removal Cost?
Wart removal costs depend on a few things. The main ones are the size and number of warts, their location on the body, and the method of treatment used.
Typically, wart removal costs $30 or less when performed at home with an over-the-counter product. Typically, wart removal costs around $200 for intralesional immunotherapy.
Wart removal with pulsed dye laser therapy typically costs around $350. Cryotherapy – or freezing – is typically around $600 for wart removal.
Understanding Warts: A Quick Overview
Warts are small, benign growths on the skin that result from the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV. Although there are over 100 types of HPV, only a select few cause warts.
These growths can appear on various parts of the body, including the hands, feet, face, and genital area. Warts are not easily spread through casual contact but can be transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact or by sharing personal items like towels and razors.
Types of Warts:
Here’s an overview of the types of warts you can develop.
- Common warts: These frequently occur on the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, and face and have a raised, rough texture.
- Plantar warts: Located on the soles of the feet, these warts can be flat and may cause discomfort when walking.
- Flat warts: These are small, smooth bumps often found on the face, arms, or legs.
- Genital warts: Found in the genital or anal area, these warts are caused by a specific variant of HPV.
- Filiform warts: These are long, slender growths usually appearing on the face, eyelids, or lips.
- Periungual warts: These warts grow around the nails and can cause pain and difficulty in nail cutting.
Causes of Warts:
The primary cause of warts is the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Other factors that can contribute to the formation of warts include:
- A compromised immune system
- Skin injuries
- Specific medical conditions such as psoriasis
Potential Outcomes If Left Untreated:
While most warts resolve on their own within two years, untreated warts can result in several complications:
- Warts may spread to other areas of the body.
- Warts can become painful or aesthetically unpleasing.
- There is a risk of warts becoming infected.
Wart Treatment Options
You have different choices for treating warts, ranging from store-bought solutions to treatments from a doctor. The right one for you depends on your wart’s type and location, as well as what you’re comfortable with.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Treatments
Salicylic acid is often found in store-bought wart removers. It peels off the wart layer by layer until it falls off. You can get it as a cream, pad, or liquid. Make sure to follow instructions to avoid irritating the skin around the wart.
Freezing kits are another option. They use cold liquid to kill the wart, which can be a bit painful. You might need to do it more than once for it to work.
Cryotherapy is a doctor-done version of a freezing kit. It’s usually effective but can hurt and might need to be repeated.
Electrosurgery and curettage involve using a scalpel or electric current to remove the wart. This is generally more effective than OTC methods but can also hurt more and might leave a scar.
Laser treatment uses laser beams to get rid of the wart. It’s a newer and effective method but can be pricey and might not be covered by insurance.
Immunotherapy boosts your body’s ability to fight the wart virus and is often used with other treatments.
Prescription creams can be applied directly to the wart. They either kill the virus or help your immune system fight it off.
Some pills can also treat warts, but they are used less often due to potential side effects.
Alternative and Home Remedies
There are also home remedies like duct tape therapy, which involves putting duct tape on the wart for several days.
Some people also try natural oils like tea tree oil, garlic, and apple cider vinegar, though there’s limited scientific proof these work.
If you’re thinking about trying any home remedies, talk to your doctor to make sure they’re safe and right for you.
Wrapping It Up
In this comprehensive guide, we’ve broken down how Medicare often covers wart removal but requires certain conditions to be met.
You’ve also learned the nuances between Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, and the role of Medicare Part D in covering prescription medications for wart treatments.
This information is helpful for anyone dealing with warts, as it could significantly impact both your health and your wallet.
So what’s your next step?
Perhaps it’s contacting your healthcare provider to discuss whether your wart removal is medically necessary, or maybe it’s comparing Medigap plans to cover any out-of-pocket expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get rid of warts for free?
Yes, you can remove warts cheaply or even for free in several ways:
1. Home Remedies: Use things like salicylic acid or duct tape. These are often cheap and easy to find.
2. Medicare Part B: If the warts really bother you, Medicare might cover the cost. You’ll need a doctor’s prescription.
3. Sliding Scale Clinics: These clinics change their fees based on what you can pay and offer wart removal.
4. Free Clinics: Some clinics offer free wart removal, funded by donations.
Does private insurance cover wart removal?
Whether your private insurance pays for wart removal depends on your plan and your situation. If the wart hurts or is spreading, insurance is more likely to cover it. Treatments done by a doctor are often covered too. If you’re not sure, call your insurance company to find out.
Is wart removal worth it?
Is getting rid of warts a good idea? It depends. You’ll need to consider how big the warts are, where they are on your body, and how many you have. Your age, health, and what you personally want also matter.
Is wart removal considered a medical or cosmetic procedure?
If you need a wart removed because it hurts or makes daily life hard, it’s seen as a medical need. Medicare will help pay for it. But if you’re just removing the wart because you don’t like how it looks, that’s considered cosmetic. Medicare won’t pay for that.
What treatments do dermatologists use to remove warts?
Dermatologists can freeze, burn, or scrape off warts. They might also use lasers, dissolving chemicals, or creams that help your immune system fight the wart. Some treatments even create a blister to make the wart fall off.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage. Always double-check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.