Does Medicare Cover Wart Removal?
If your doctor has found that it is medically necessary to treat an infection or cancer development for risk reduction, Medicare will cover the cost of the outpatient surgical procedure.
Medicare Part B covers procedures performed in a doctor’s office or outpatient facility. If a hospital formally admits you as an inpatient, Medicare Part A will cover procedures performed to remove warts, as long as there is a medical necessity.
Without your provider’s declaration that there is a medical need to remove the skin growths and that wart removal would be for cosmetic purposes, Medicare Part A or Part B will not pay for the removal. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may help pay for over-the-counter (OTC) products that you could use toward the purchase of pharmaceutical products for home remedies. The OTC allowances vary among plans.
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What Causes Warts?
The human papillomavirus or HPV is a highly contagious virus that causes benign or noncancerous skin growths, called warts, to appear a people’s bodies. HPV can spread to multiple areas of the body and other people. Skin damage like cuts or scrapes increases the likelihood of infection. Shaven parts of the body are also vulnerable places to contract HPV.
Some of the viruses create visible warts, whereas others do not. Although warts caused by HPV are noncancerous, there are some strands of HPV that could result in cancer. Fortunately, by getting vaccinated, the risk of developing cancer from these strands of HPV decreases significantly.
Being a contagion, the transmission of HPV occurs through skin-to-skin contact or some form of touch. A person without any signs of warts may still have the virus. Some people with HPV may not show any signs of infection, which means they are still contagious and can pass the virus.
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Identifying Types of Warts
Does Medicare cover wart removal of any type? According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), there are a few different ways that warts can manifest. First, it depends on which specific strand of HPV causes the growth to develop. Second, to categorize warts, the AAD groups them by their appearance and location on a person’s body.
The different types of warts include:
- Filiform warts typically grow on a person’s face, in areas around the eyes, mouth and nose. They develop rapidly and look as if long fingers or threads are sticking out from the skin.
- Common warts also appear on the face but can also develop on fingers and the backs of hands. These types of warts may have black dots and a bumpy texture.
- Flat warts are smooth and small. They appear in multiple places on the body. However, they usually develop on the face and in areas where hair is shaved regularly, like women’s legs or men’s beards. Flat warts grow in clusters that could have 20 to 100 warts in a single place.
- Plantar warts or foot warts grow on the soles of feet. Because of the pressure feet receive from walking, these warts grow inwardly. They can be painful and feel as if you’re stepping on tiny rocks and pebbles.
Some skin cancers can get diagnosed as warts. So it’s crucial to speak to your physician if you notice changes to your skin, particularly if you have painful growths that seem inflamed. Report any pigment changes to your physician, as well.
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Tips for Removing Warts
Medical removal treatments are not always necessary to get rid of warts. Sometimes they vanish on their own. However, if warts multiply or are painful, you may need to seek a medical professional for their removal. The treatment you receive will not only remove warts but may incite an immune response that will be a defense for your body against HPV.
Some of these treatments may include:
- Laser treatment
- Chemical skin treatments such as trichloroacetic, salicylic or chloroacetic acids
Home remedies are an option too. They may be as effective as treatments from providers, but you’d likely have to pay for any supplies out-of-pocket.
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