Ingrown Toenail Surgery Cost: How much is it?

Whenever it comes to surgery or visiting a doctor for treatment of any kind, the next logical question that comes to mind is how much does ingrown toenail surgery cost? This is especially important when you are an individual suffering from the pain of an ingrown toenail and you do not have medical insurance to cover the visit and the procedure.

Toenail removal surgery is pretty darn “cheap” in the grand scheme of things in the realm of medical procedures.  Now of course, “cheap” is relative especially when finances are difficult.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery Cost for Uninsured Patients

I recently surveyed a handful of podiatrists in the Los Angeles area to ask for quotes on ingrown toenail procedures for someone who does not have insurance.  As you would expect, there was some variance in the quoted procedures and caveats based on the seriousness of the ingrown toenail.

Our survey found that an uninsured patient should expect to pay $260-500 dollars.  These figures include all the costs associated with doctor consultations and aftercare visits.  As you would probably expect, the intensive permanent nail removal operations were responsible for the quoted prices at the higher end of the spectrum.

Each office we surveyed calculated their fees differently.  Some podiatrists had a simple flat rate fee based on the temporary or permanent toenail removal surgery.  Others quoted the initial consultation and subsequent procedure separately.  Regardless, in these instances, the total did not exceed $500.

An interesting note worth disclosing here is that one doctor’s office cautioned me about the presence of an infection.  They cautioned me that were they to find an infection, the doctor would perform a temporary nail removal and prescribe antibiotics for the infection.  Once the infection went away, the doctor would then perform the permanent toenail removal surgery.  In this instance and with this doctor’s office, the cost would have exceeded $500 since it would have been similar to having two different procedures.

If you are uninsured and unsure of the severity of your ingrown nail condition, it would behoove you to inquire as to the actual cost of just the initial consultation.  As we alluded to on the homepage, most ingrown nail conditions do not require surgery and you do not want to pay more than you have to for a consultation, especially if you find out that the doctor does not need to surgically remove your toenail.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery Cost for Insured Patients

If you are currently insured you can expect to pay much less for any surgery involving the removal of an ingrown toenail.  Obviously, each providers has different copays and deductible guidelines.  However, be forewarned about unscrupulous medical practices.

Do not call up a podiatrist, or any doctor for that matter, and ask if they take your insurance.  Every doctor can take your insurance.  They will just turn around and bill you for what your insurance did not cover.  In the case of electing to visit an out-of-network provider, your insurance will not cover any of it even though the doctor “accepted” your insurance.  Therefore, you must contact your insurance provider and find out who is in your network.  Even though insurance companies have gotten much better about providing this information online, it can still be quite a chore signing in and navigating some of these provider’s websites.  If you are not going to take my advice, at the very least ask the doctor you are considering to submit to you a written estimate given your medical insurance coverage.
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In the interest of full disclosure, I have been guilty of simply asking my dentist if they took my insurance and never encountered any problems.  And odds are you will not either.  But, why take the chance.  There are some unethical doctors out there just like any other profession and there is no sense in not taking the extra time to ensure you are protected.

Local Anesthetic vs. Being Put to Sleep

The above information provided is based on the assumption that each patient underwent a local anesthetic similar to how a dentist will numb your teeth and gums before filling a cavity.  Some podiatrists will put you to sleep to perform the procedure should that be more desirable to you and your particular circumstances.  In the event you elect to be placed under total anesthesia, the costs of the procedure will increase dramatically and it is also highly doubtful that your insurance provider will cover this procedure.

Medical Reimbursement Plans

Many employers have medical saving and reimbursement plans available to their employees.  These plans allow you to deduct money from your paycheck each month and place it in a savings fund held by your employer in which you can only spend these funds on medical expenses.  The advantage of this benefit is that you do not have to pay income taxes on these funds.  Additionally, some employers will make a match of some kind similar to that of a 401k retirement plan and this effectively lowers the cost of your ingrown toenail surgery.

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