Does Medicaid Cover Wart Removal?
- Does Medicaid cover wart removal? Discover when wart removal is considered medically necessary, when it's covered by Medicaid and the cost of wart removal.
Warts are skin lesions caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Because they’re caused by a virus, warts are contagious and can be spread to other parts of your body or to other people. However, they’re generally benign and often disappear without treatment. You may still want to remove your wart, especially if it’s causing pain or discomfort, or you don’t like the way it looks. If this is the case, it’s good to know if Medicaid covers wart removal.
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Does Medicaid Cover Wart Removal?
Although Medicaid is partially paid for with federal government funds, it’s administered by states. This means what is covered by Medicaid depends on where you live and the exact Medicaid program you’re enrolled in. Wart removal is generally undertaken by dermatologists, and most states cover dermatological visits.
Despite this, many instances of wart removal aren’t covered by Medicaid. As warts are normally benign, they're most commonly removed because of their appearance. This means wart removal is generally considered a cosmetic procedure, which isn’t covered by Medicaid. This is the case, even if the location of the wart is causing emotional distress.
Sometimes, warts can cause medical issues, and in these cases, Medicaid does cover wart removal. There are a wide range of reasons why wart removal would be deemed medically necessary, including:
- Intense itching
- Enlargement of the wart
- Inflammation of the area
- Obstruction of an orifice, such as a wart that blocks an ear or nostril
- Restriction of eye function
It's also medically appropriate to remove a wart if your doctor or dermatologist is uncertain of their diagnosis. This is normally done if the skin lesion shows signs of being malignant.
What Is the Cost of Wart Removal?
If your wart removal isn’t covered by Medicaid but you still want to get it removed, you can pay for your own treatment. The cost involved depends on the size of the wart, how many warts you have, where they’re located and the removal method.
Over-the-counter treatments use salicylic acid that dissolves the wart tissue. The treatment must be regularly applied and may take several weeks to work. These treatments can cost as little as $30.
Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the warts off. This can be performed by a specialist or a general practitioner. Discomfort from the procedure can last for 2-3 days afterwards. The cost depends on who’s performing the procedure and how many treatments it takes, but it averages $610.
Pulsed dye laser therapy cuts off blood supply to the wart, which will then fall off over time. Carbon dioxide lasers are also used for wart removal but may cause scarring. The cost is typically $360, and the total is based on the number of treatments required and how many warts need to be removed.
Intralesional immunotherapy involves injecting an antigen into the wart to stimulate an immune response that makes the wart go away. It’s normally used for stubborn warts that don’t respond to other treatments. As with most treatments, the cost depends on the number of warts you have and the number of treatments needed but is generally around $190.
Is Wart Removal Considered Surgery?
The only wart removal treatment that's considered surgery is wart removal surgery. Surgery is normally used when the wart can't be treated by other means. Although this is minor surgery, it tends to be more painful than other options and is more likely to cause scarring. As the surgery doesn't remove HPV from the skin, it's also possible for warts to reappear after surgical removal.
As this is minor surgery, it's performed in the office and only uses local anesthetic. Depending on the size of your wart, you may need stitches following the procedure, but there's not normally any postoperative discomfort and you’re unlikely to need a long recovery period. Your doctor should discuss the risks and possible side effects of any procedure with you before starting treatment.