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Does Health Insurance Cover Skin Tag Removal?

The coverage of skin tag removal is dependent on medical necessity. If you want a skin tag eliminated because you find it unsightly, you will most likely end up paying 100% of the cost out of pocket. However, if your skin tag is infected, bleeds regularly, causes pain, or obstructs your vision, many insurance companies will cover its removal as a medically necessary procedure.

In general, insurers will only pay for dermatological services deemed medically necessary in diagnosing, treating, or managing acute skin conditions such as cancer, infection, eczema, rosacea, hives, and warts. Almost all insurance providers exclude elective procedures like Botox or chemical peels from benefits. As always, coverage limits and restrictions ultimately hinge on your insurance carrier, plan type, and specific medical condition.

Understanding Skin Tags 

Skin tags – medically referred to as acrochordons – are harmless growths that appear on areas of the body where the skin more frequently rubs together, such as the underarms, sides of the neck, groin, and eyelids. Skin tags can also develop from constant friction with inanimate materials like clothing, jewelry, or seat belts. 

While acrochordon removal is most often for cosmetic reasons, in rare cases, inflamed, bleeding, or off-color skin tags could point to deeper issues such as cancer or infection. When it comes to acrochordon removal, dermatologists can use the following methods:

  • Cauterization: Burning them with a hot wire or needle
  • Cryotherapy: Freezing them with liquid nitrogen
  • Excision: Cutting them with surgical scissors

How Does Health Insurance Cover Skin Tag Removal? 

Your skin tag removal coverage will vary depending on your medical eligibility and specific health insurance details.


Covered skin tag removals must meet your insurance policy’s medical necessity criteria and come at the recommendation of an approved dermatologist. Doctors occasionally recommend the elimination of skin tags exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • Frequent bleeding
  • Notable itchiness
  • Infection
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Inflammation
  • Sudden enlargement
  • Changes in color
  • Swelling that contains fluid
  • Oozing pus
  • Obstructs vision

Understanding Cosmetic vs. Medically Necessary Dermatology

Cosmetic dermatology consists of elective procedures meant to improve the skin or reverse signs of aging. Common cosmetic services include facelifts, rhinoplasty, Botox, tattoo or hair removal, and facials.

Alternatively, most insurance companies define a medically necessary service as one that is required to diagnose, treat, or manage a concerning illness, disease, or injury.  

While it’s natural for some skin tags to bleed or cause pain if they sit on a high-friction surface of the body, if a skin tag suddenly grows in size, changes color, or oozes fluid, it could indicate a more dangerous issues like cancer or an underlying infection. In either case, your health insurance would cover a dermatologist-recommended removal as medically necessary.

How Much Does Skin Tag Removal Cost? 

While skin tag removal could cost an average of $160 out-of-pocket, the cost of certain procedures will vary base on state, medical provider, and removal method. Patients may also need to cover the dermatologist’s regular visit fee.

A routine medical consultation can cost anywhere from $75-$200, and depending on the contracted lab used by the doctor, biopsies can range from $150-$300.

If your insurance considers the procedure medically necessary, it may cover the majority of out-of-pocket costs. In this case, you may only need to cover copay or coinsurance costs after meeting the annual deductible. Again, overall costs and coverage will depend on location, provider, and removal method.

How to Get Skin Tag Removal Surgery 

Once you decide to get a skin tag removed, follow these steps to ensure coverage:

  1. Review your insurance policy. Contact your insurer to verify their medical necessity criteria and cost-sharing protocols before scheduling an appointment.
  2. Obtain a doctor’s recommendation. Your dermatologist must recommend and document skin tag removals as a medical necessity for your insurer to approve benefits.
  3. Select an in-network provider. Some insurance companies only cover services from in-network specialists listed on their websites. For the best possible coverage, make sure your provider is in-network.
  4. Ask for cost estimates. Ensure you understand your share of removal expenses, such as copayments, deductibles, and additional lab test or consultation fees.
  5. Submit a claim. Typically, your dermatologist will do this on your behalf to secure payment from your insurer.

Removing Skin Tags at Home 

If your insurance will not cover skin removal, there are over-the-counter products that allow you to safely attempt it yourself:

  • Applicators that place small bands around acrochordons to cut off blood supply
  • Self-applied ointments that freeze off skin tags
  • Medicated bandage pads

These products simulate professional dermatological procedures on a less invasive, at-home scale. Some people also turn to alternative home remedies to treat or prevent skin tag development, including:

  • Taking Vitamin E to deter wrinkles and promote healthy skin
  • Wrapping skin tags with banana peels to hydrate the skin and transfer antioxidants
  • Applying tea tree oil to skin tags to draw from its natural antifungal and antibiotic properties
  • Soaking acrochordons with apple cider vinegar to break down the surrounding tissue

How Medicaid and Medicare Cover Skin Tag Removal 

Much like private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare will only cover skin tag removals verified as medically necessary by program-compliant doctors. If you have Medicare, Part B will pay for 80% of any approved procedure, leaving you with a 20% coinsurance and your $226 annual deductible. With Medicaid, you can likely secure coverage for little to nothing out-of-pocket.

If you have both Medicare and private insurance, your standalone or employer plan will usually act as the “primary payer,” covering most eligible costs and leaving Medicare to pick up the surplus. However, this coordination of benefits varies situationally and occasionally results in Medicare paying first. If you have Medicare and Medicaid together, Medicaid will always pay second.

All in All 

While you might find them annoying or unsightly, skin tags are usually harmless and rarely require medical attention. However, if one starts bleeding frequently, changes color, or exhibits other strange symptoms, a dermatologist may recommend its removal. In this case, your insurance company would likely cover the procedure as medically necessary. 

Contact your insurer and dermatologist to verify your coverage eligibility before scheduling an appointment. If your insurance company denies benefits, you can safely attempt removal at home using various over-the-counter products or natural remedies.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

It depends on your tolerance and budget. Benign skin tags seldom require medical attention and usually pose nothing more than aesthetic concerns. However, if you have disposable income and believe it would improve your self-esteem or allow you to wear certain clothes and jewelry without discomfort, a removal could prove worth the out-of-pocket costs.

Indefinitely. Once your doctor removes a skin tag, it will not grow back in the same place. However, people prone to acrochordons may regularly develop new ones in other areas.

You can usually get skin tags removed at any dermatologist’s office, though inpatient residents may occasionally receive the procedure at a hospital. You can also attempt an in-home removal using specialized over-the-counter products or natural remedies like apple cider vinegar, banana peels, and tea tree oil.

Yes. You can prevent skin tags by wearing loose-fitting clothing, losing weight to reduce skin folds, and taking Vitamin E and other supplements to promote healthy skin. However, none of these techniques provide surefire benefits, and acrochordons may still develop regardless of your precautions.

While it depends on the removal procedure, the affected area usually takes about 1-2 weeks to heal.  Your dermatologist will likely advise you to regularly sanitize and dress the wound for the first few days following the procedure.

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