The decision to remove your mole or moles may have been an easy one, though the decision on exactly how to do so may take a bit more deliberation. But aside from other important factors like speed of removal, lack of permanent scarring, and procedure safety, the issue of mole removal cost will certainly be a major concern.
Not all moles are alike, and not all moles cost the same amount of money to have removed. The larger, more deeply rooted, and more “stubborn” your targeted mole is the more time and/or expense it will likely incur when you go to remove it.
Taking the time to understand how much it will cost you to get rid of that mole and how to reduce your costs to a minimum pays off in the end.
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How Much Does It Cost?
The national average cost of mole removal is $150 to $400 if we’re talking removal via professional help. It may cost only $10 or $20 or less, on the other hand, if you try over the counter mole removal creams and lotions or DIY home remedies.
If you need to get your mole tested for melanoma or other cancers, that can add several hundred dollars to the cost of mole removal. Plus, if a shaved off mole grows back over several years’ time, it would need to be removed again – involving a periodic expense for as long as the mole keeps regrowing.
Which type of mole you are getting removed and how many “problem moles” are on your eradication list will also play into the final costs. It might cost more to remove a raised, clear mole wedged in under the side of your nose, for example, than a flat, brown mole located mid-cheek.
And charges will differ from region to region and doctor to doctor as well, besides based on the type of surgery or treatment you opt for.
Many people today immediately think of laser mole removal, on which topic see more at the other end of the provided link, when they think of mole removal at all.
Laser surgery can be done at home with some modern methods, but that can be risky unless you know what you’re doing and a friend is helping you through the process.
But how expensive is professional “laser surgery” for mole removal?
Here are some factors to consider:
- It usually costs around $50 to $80 per treatment per mole for laser mole removal therapy.
- A three-treatment process is standard in the industry. That’s $150 to $240 per mole removed.
- Since moles destroyed by lasers leave no evidence behind them, cancer testing is often done on the mole first. Such testing can cost as much as a few hundred dollars, though it might cost less with some surgeons.
Thus, you are probably looking at $250 to $500 per mole with laser removal techniques. And you can only use this method with relatively shallow moles so that scarring will be avoided – and it’s possible the mole could regrow a few years later.
That said, laser removal procedures are very popular today, and they are usually very effective.
Facial Mole Removal
The most common area from which people decide to remove a mole is the face, for obvious reasons. The high visibility and discomfort of a facial mole certainly make it a prime candidate for removal – and the effort and cost may be deemed well worth it.
However, moles on the back can be uncomfortable when lying down or sitting, and any large mole can cause bumps under the clothes. And moles in the genital area are also often troublesome, so while facial moles are the most commonly removed moles, they are not by any means the only ones!
Facial moles don’t cost more to remove than other moles. And you can often remove them with over the counter mole removal cream, which you can further explore by following the provided link.
But if at-home treatments fail to remove your mole, it’s time to consider if you’re willing to pay hundreds of dollars to get it removed by a dermatologist. Depending on the size, shape, location, and painfulness of the mole, it may indeed be worthwhile.
As soon as you task a dermatologist with your mole, expect it to cost more than all DIY methods. After all, dermatologists worked hard for their degrees and went through expensive, intense training to acquire their current skills. It’s only to be expected their services won’t be “cheap.”
For moles of small diameter and depth, electrocoagulation may be recommended by your doctor. For deeper and larger moles, shaving or excision surgery may be recommended instead.
Compared to other services dermatologists provide, mole removal is actually relatively inexpensive, but it costs several hundred dollars or more nonetheless.
But here are 3 ways to try to get a lower price:
- Contact a medical school with a Department of Dermatology and arrange to have the mole removed by a dermatologist still in training – with oversight by a more experienced practitioner.
- Use online tools to comparison shop for your mole-removal treatment.
- If your mole needs to be removed for medical reasons, see if it’s covered by your health insurance policy.
- You may be able to get a discount for paying in full in cash upfront with some doctors, so don’t be shy about asking!
- You may be able to get financing or time to pay in installments from your dermatologist, which won’t lower costs but will at least help with cash flow.
Finally, if your top concern is finding the best possible dermatologist regardless of whether it costs a little more, use the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery’s no-cost physician finding service and ask for before/after pictures from your physician before “entrusting your mole” to him or her.
Many do it yourself creams and at home remedies cost only $10 to $75 to use in eradicating as many as five moles. But they don’t always work, and then you definitely need professional help.
Here is the approximate cost of the three most common types of mole removal surgeries performed by dermatologists today:
- From $100 to $500 for surgical excision plus mole cauterization to prevent bleeding (see more on cauterization by following the link). Stitches will also be included in the “package.”
- Electrocoagulation, which burns away the mole with electricity, costs around $130 to $360. But it’s not a very common technique anymore, so you may have trouble finding a dermatologist to perform it.
- Laser surgery, as mentioned earlier, cost $150 to $240 in three treatments.
To learn more about a surgical mole removal, see this page.
Does Insurance Cover Your Procedure?
Many people assume that removing a mole is not the sort of thing that would be covered by a health insurance policy.
But that’s only half true. Sometimes, mole removal is, in fact, covered. And given the cost of mole removal, it’s worth a check with your insurer to see if you can save some money.
With very few exceptions, only moles being removed for medical reasons are covered by insurance, while those removed for purely cosmetic reasons won’t be.
Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- If the mole is causing you a good deal of pain, that could qualify it as a “medical removal.”
- If the mole is bleeding or digging too deep into your skin, that could make its removal medical rather than cosmetic in nature.
- If a dermatologist recommends removing the mole and testing it for cancer in a biopsy, it should count as medical removal.
But it varies from insurer to insurer exactly which moles qualify for coverage. And usually, a mole has to bleed, itch and feel irritated, vary in shape and size over time, and display other specific characteristics before it is “suspected as possibly melanoma or otherwise cancerous.”
Cost of Mole Removal With and Without the Insurance
How big of a difference will there be in what you pay out of pocket if your mole removal procedure qualifies for insurance coverage, versus if it doesn’t? That depends greatly on how your insurance plan is set up.
Normally you pay $100 to $500 per mole removed, with second and additional moles to be removed during the same procedure costing less per mole. Thus, even a few moles could easily cost $500 to $1,000
But again, the position, type, complexity, and the number of moles removed, along with numerous other factors will affect how much the total tally ends up being.
Now, how much will insurance coverage save you?
Here are some factors that will affect the answer to that question:
- Unless the mole is or might be precancerous or cancerous or is a true medical problem, few policies will cover it at all.
- Some insurers only cover particular types of mole removal techniques, so you have to ask and coordinate this with your dermatologist.
- If you haven’t met your annual deductible yet, the costs will be applied to the deductible but not save you anything out of pocket.
- If your health insurance uses copays, a set dollar-amount will be covered for the consultation, tests, and surgeries. The rest, you have to pay out of pocket.
- If you’ve met your deductible, most insurers cover a percentage (70% or 80%) of the costs. In that case, you might pay only $30 for removing a mole instead of $150, for example.
Be sure to inquire with both your health insurer and dermatologist on what kind of documentation you will need and what process you will have to go through to file your claim and to get any available discounts.
There is often a way to save money on mole removal if you look hard enough for it, with or without insurance coverage. But it certainly makes it easier to save, in many instances, if it’s a medical removal and it’s covered.
One of the key concerns people have about mole removal is the cost. It’s impossible to give a single number since costs vary so much, but it’s safe to say that professional removal will cost $100 or more and at-home DIY removal methods typically cost $25 or less.
Which method to choose will depend partly on affordability, of course, but also on safety, speed, lack of scarring, and other important issues. Cost, convenience, and effectiveness all need to be balanced here in making an informed decision you won’t regret.
You can find further details of Mole removal methods here.