Foot problems are no joke. Bunions, ingrown toenails, athlete’s foot and other issues can seriously disrupt your quality of life, especially if they keep you from walking without pain or even walking at all. But when your footsies need some TLC, there’s a doctor specially trained to help. Podiatrists spend years in school to learn everything you never wanted to know about diagnosing and treating the human foot. In many cases, your insurance will cover part or all of the cost, whether you’re referred by your general practitioner or you choose a podiatrist on your own.
Before visiting a podiatrist, check to make sure your insurance covers the appointment. If your issue is deemed to be medical in nature, such as you’re experiencing pain but you don’t know why, your insurance likely will pay for your initial consultation. Medicare covers only medically necessary foot care.
If you don’t have insurance, you’ll want to check into the podiatrist’s prices for cash payers. Some specialists offer discounts to cash payers, since they get immediate payment without having to deal with insurance companies. As a cash payer, a short consultation for a new patient will likely run in the $50 to $300 range. The price depends on the area you live in and the length of the appointment.
Follow-up visits fall in the same cost range as initial consultations. Expect to spend between $50 and $300 per visit, depending on the experience and location of the podiatrist. If you need surgery or treatment, though, you’ll find insurance comes in handy. Surgery to remove a bunion will cost between $3,800 and $11,500, according to Healthcare Bluebook, and hammer toe correction surgery costs between $2,500 and $9,300.
Noncovered services may include orthotics. Aetna, for instance, excludes orthotics unless prescribed for postsurgical rehabilitation or if it is part of a leg brace. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina covers it when medically necessary and prescribed by a physician. Aetna also does not cover routine foot care, which includes the treatment of bunions, calluses and corns.
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Today’s podiatry offices often use innovative procedures that may or may not be covered by your insurer. However, in some cases, it could be worthwhile to invest in these procedures since they might be less painful or more effective than other forms of treatment. You also might find you save money, long-term, since you can limit the number of required visits and get resolution much more quickly.
People who suffer from toenail fungus often find the concept of laser treatment appealing. Instead of months of topical or oral treatment, lasers can get beneath the surface of the toenail, eradicating the fungus. But this one-time procedure costs between $1,000 and $2,500, and insurance typically will not pay laser treatment.
Medicare Part B and some insurers will pay, however, for hyperbaric oxygen therapy for diabetic foot wounds, as long as your wound is severe enough and you’ve exhausted standard forms of treatment.
- DocShop: Orthopedic Surgery
- Yellow Toenails Cured: What’s the Cost of Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus
- Your Medicare Coverage: Foot Care
- Aetna: Routine Foot Care
- Aetna: Foot Orthotics
- Healthcare Bluebook: https://www.healthcarebluebook.com/page_ProcedureDetails.aspx?cftId=35&g=Hammertoe+Correction
- Blue Cross Blue Shield NC: Corporate Medical Policy
- LiveStrong: About Toenail Fungus Laser Treatment
- Tufts Health Plan: Medical Necessity Guidelines: Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment
- Medicare: Your Medicare Coverage
- Aetna: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)