Does Medicare Cover Dermatologists?

In this article...
  • Learn about Medicare's coverage rules for outpatient dermatology services and how to determine if you're eligible for coverage through a standalone Medicare plan.

Medicare is designed to protect older and disabled adults from financial hardship due to the need for medical services. Whether inpatient or outpatient services are provided, Medicare has strict rules governing coverage. Namely, covered services must be provided for legitimate medical conditions and not simply for cosmetic purposes. That being said, does Medicare cover dermatologists? The answer is, it depends. 

Learn what Medicare does and does not cover when it comes to dermatology services. 

Does Medicare Cover Dermatologists? 

Dermatologists are not excluded from accepting Medicare provided they are credentialed to do so. The problem some individuals have is determining what is medically necessary versus cosmetic. This is a conversation that should happen with a primary care physician (PCP) or general practitioner prior to scheduling an appointment. Your PCP can help you determine if seeing a dermatologist is medically necessary. 

Does Medicare Pay for Visits to the Dermatologist? 

The portion of Medicare that covers outpatient services, also known as Part B, provides coverage to recipients who see a dermatologist in an outpatient setting provided the reason for the visit establishes medical necessity. To be covered for a dermatology visit, a beneficiary needs to opt in to Part B and be current with their premium payments. Medicare recipients enrolled in a Part C, or Medicare Advantage, plan need to review their coverage documents to confirm the plan rules about dermatology services. 

Is Routine Dermatology Covered by Medicare? 

In most cases, routine dermatology services are not covered by Medicare. The exception may be an individual with Part B coverage who needs to see a dermatologist for the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment or management of a medical condition. This would be considered a problem-focused visit and not routine. Additionally, some Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage for dermatology that expands beyond traditional Medicare limits. 

Do I Have a Copayment to See a Dermatologist? 

Assuming the reason for your visit involves meeting criteria for medical necessity, you may be responsible for a cost-share (usually 20% for Part B recipients) or copayment (if enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan). Some plans have a deductible as well, which will need to be met before the plan will pay its share. Referrals for outpatient dermatology services are required if you are enrolled in a plan that requires referrals to see specialists.