August is Psoriasis Awareness Month and now is a great time to get an annual skin checkup and discover the sign and symptoms of this lingering skin disease. If you have questions about Medicare-covered services, including dermatology, we can help.
What Is Dermatology?
Dermatology is the part of medicine dealing with the skin. A dermatologist is a specialist doctor who identifies and treats conditions that involve the skin, nails, and hair. Dermatology services can be critical for an individual as they age. It’s also important to treat other skin conditions, like psoriasis (more below).
Does Medicare Cover Dermatology Services?
Medicare Part B may cover dermatology care if required to evaluate, diagnose, or treat a particular medical condition. However, it depends on the procedure. You may still be responsible for a deductible and a portion of the Medicare-approved amount. For 2022, the Part B deductible is $233.
What Else You Should Know
It gets specific beyond that. For example, Original Medicare doesn’t cover a routine (preventative) full-body skin exam, but it usually pays for a skin test after a biopsy revealing skin cancer. Here’s what else you should know:
- Medicare doesn’t cover cosmetic procedures, such as treating age spots or wrinkles.
- To confirm coverage, you must get care from a dermatologist who accepts Medicare.
- If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may need to see an in-network dermatologist or have their primary care physician get you a referral. The copayment fee will depend on the program.
- A dermatologist may prescribe medications for your skin condition. Medicare Part D plans typically cover these expenses. However, it’s best to check the plan’s formulary to ensure it has the medications you need.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition that triggers the rapid development of skin cells. This excessive growth can result in thick, itchy, and uncomfortable scales or plaques. Different kinds of psoriasis vary, depending on the scales’ appearance and body location. The symptoms also vary from mild to severe.
The cause of psoriasis is unclear, but scientists presume that it’s a chronic autoimmune disease.
Fortunately, the symptoms are manageable, and many options exist for treating the disease. These options include a variety of oral, topical, and injected medications, and phototherapy. Phototherapy exposes the skin to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can slow cell growth and reduce irritation.
Does Medicare Cover Psoriasis Treatment?
Medicare will usually cover medical treatments for psoriasis. In most cases, Part B includes UV light therapy panels as a type of durable medical equipment (DME).
But Medicare only pays for these devices when a patient needs in-home light therapy to sustain overall wellness.