Does Insurance Cover Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus? Find Out Now!

Does Insurance Cover Toenail Fungus - Bizcviral
Does Insurance Cover Toenail Fungus - Bizcviral

Toenail fungus is a common condition that affects millions of people. It occurs when fungi infect the nail bed, causing thickening, discolouration, and distortion of the toenail. While not life-threatening, toenail fungus can be painful, embarrassing, and difficult to treat.

One newer treatment option is laser therapy. But does insurance cover this relatively new approach? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about using insurance for laser treatment of toenail fungus.

What Causes Toenail Fungus and Why Is It So Hard to Treat?

Toenail fungus (also called onychomycosis) often starts when microscopic fungal spores get under the nail. This can happen in moist areas like public showers, swimming pools, or locker rooms. Once under the nail, the fungi thrive in warm, dark, and moist environments.

As the infection progresses, the nail thickens, and debris builds up underneath. This lifts the nail from the nail bed, allowing more fungi to get underneath. The fungi continue eating away at the nail keratin, the protein that makes up the nail plate.

This keratin damage causes the characteristic yellow, brown, white, or black discolouration. It also leads to a crumbly texture and foul odour. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other toenails or even fingernails.

The tough part is that the damaged keratin forms a protective barrier against the fungus underneath. Medications have a hard time penetrating through to kill off the infection fully. And the fungi can stubbornly hang on even in trace amounts. This makes toenail fungus prone to recurrence after treatment.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Toenail Fungus

Given how difficult it is to eliminate toenail fungus, most traditional treatments take 3 to 12 months. They also have a risk of side effects or recurrences. Here are some of the most common medical approaches:

  • Prescription oral antifungal medications – These include options like terbinafine or itraconazole. They work by circulating through the bloodstream to get to the nail bed. But it takes at least 3 months for a new healthy nail to regrow. And the medications have side effects like nausea, rash, or liver damage.
  • Topical antifungal lacquers or solutions – These are brushed directly on the nail. Brand names include Penlac, Kerydin, and Jublia. The applications can take 9 to 12 months to work. But the success rates are lower than oral meds.
  • Laser treatment – We’ll cover this more below. But lasers can directly target the fungus. Sessions are done every few weeks. It takes 3 to 6 months to see improvement.
  • Surgical removal – The nail can be partially or fully removed as a last resort. But it will regrow within several months. And the fungus can return if it isn’t fully eliminated.

Nail fungus is a stubborn problem without any quick fixes. That’s what makes laser treatment an appealing option for many people. But does insurance help cover the costs?

How Much Does Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus Cost?

Laser therapy for toenail fungus ranges from $400 to $1800 per treatment. More than one session is often needed every few weeks for 3 to 6 months. So the total costs quickly add up.

For example, if each treatment is $600, and you need 6 total over 3 months, that comes to $3,600. Compare that to a $30 topical treatment or $2000 for oral medications over several months.

This makes laser treatment cost prohibitive for many people without insurance coverage. Understanding what your policy covers is key if you are considering laser therapy.

Will Health Insurance Cover Laser Therapy for Toenail Fungus?

Unfortunately, the answer is usually no. Most major health insurance plans still consider laser treatment experimental or investigational for nail fungus. Without FDA approval specifically for this use, insurance companies can deny coverage.

Medicare also does not cover laser therapy for nail fungus. And Medicare supplemental insurance plans will not provide coverage for experimental procedures denied by Medicare.

There are a few exceptions where insurance might help pay costs:

  • Some newer, smaller insurance companies recognise the benefits of laser therapy. So it’s worth checking if your plan covers this treatment.
  • If you have severe pain or difficulty walking due to nail fungus, insurance may cover it. Make sure your doctor documents how the condition impairs your daily functioning.
  • Insurance may pay for laser treatment if you have a secondary fungal skin infection that spreads. Again, make sure your doctor notes the extent of the problem.

Outside of those situations, it’s wise to expect that insurance will not cover the costs. What other options do you have?

Creative Ways to Pay for Laser Therapy Without Insurance

While laser treatment is rarely covered upfront, there are some options to defray or reimburse the costs:

  • Use your HSA or FSA funds – If you have a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), you can tap into these pre-tax funds. Just make sure to get a detailed receipt to submit.
  • Ask about payment plans – Many laser clinics offer monthly payments over time with 0% interest. This spreads out the costs interest-free over many months or even years.
  • Submit for out-of-network reimbursement – Even if laser therapy is denied upfront, submit the claim after paying out of pocket. You may get reimbursed for a portion of the costs.
  • Seek provider discounts – Ask the clinic if they offer package discounts when paying the full amount upfront. Avoiding monthly billing can lead to 10-20% savings.
  • Medical credit cards allow you to finance the costs over time. Just be sure to compare shop cards and read the fine print. Avoid high fees or interest charges.
  • Try manufacturer rebates – Some laser device manufacturers offer rebates when purchasing a certain number of treatments up front.
  • Use rewards credit cards – Rack up points on rewards cards to apply towards medical expenses. Or take advantage of low financing offers.

You can make laser therapy work without insurance coverage with some savvy planning. But what kind of results can you expect?

What Are the Success Rates with Laser Treatment?

Multiple clinical studies show laser therapy clears nail fungus in 70-80% of cases. This is a higher success rate than topical treatments alone. Here’s an overview of how laser therapy works:

  • A podiatrist trims back the infected part of the nail to expose the fungus underneath.
  • The laser machine directs focused, high-intensity light pulses at the nail bed.
  • The fungus absorbs light energy, heating up and killing the organisms.
  • This also activates the immune system and boosts nail bed circulation.
  • After just a few minutes per nail, the session is done!
  • It takes a few weeks for a new, healthy nail to grow.
  • Multiple sessions every 4-6 weeks continue destroying any remaining fungal spores.
  • After all, sessions are complete, the nail looks clearer and returns to a normal thickness.

Laser technology offers hope for those without success with other approaches. Make sure to find an experienced laser therapist with proven results. With multiple treatments, the odds are in your favour to finally beat stubborn toenail fungus!

Read more: What Insurance Does Conviva Accept? Discover the Accepted Insurance Plans

Will the Toenail Fungus Just Come Back Again? How to Prevent Recurrence

While laser therapy offers high clearance rates, nail fungus can still return. You can minimise the risk of recurrence by taking these preventive steps:

  • Throw out old shoes and socks harbouring fungal spores. Avoid going barefoot in public areas.
  • Use antifungal spray or powder in shoes and socks. Change socks daily.
  • Keep feet dry to discourage fungal growth. Alternate shoes to allow them to dry out fully.
  • Apply antifungal cream weekly under the nail edge to prevent reinfection.
  • Get pedicures at reputable salons with proper sanitisation practices. Bring your tools.
  • If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugars tightly controlled. High glucose encourages fungal growth.
  • Boost immunity with diet, sleep, stress management, and medication adherence. Strong defences thwart infections.
  • Apply antifungal lacquer on the nails weekly after laser therapy. This prevents spore penetration.

With diligence, you can keep the beasts at bay. Don’t give up the fight against stubborn toenail fungus!

To Wrap Up…Should You Consider Laser Therapy for Toenail Fungus?

Dealing with toenail fungus is frustrating. Medications take months, and the fungus keeps coming back. Laser treatment offers a modern approach with high success rates.

While insurance coverage remains limited, you have many options to pay for it:

  • Use tax-free health accounts
  • Ask for discounts or payment plans
  • Submit claims for partial reimbursement
  • Use medical credit cards or financing

With multiple laser sessions, you can finally have clear nails again. Prevent recurrence with smart foot care and hygiene. Don’t let stubborn toenail fungus stop you from wearing sandals with confidence!

FAQ About Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus

Laser therapy for toenail fungus is growing in popularity. But many people still have questions about the specifics. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How exactly does the laser work to kill toenail fungus?

The laser emits highly focused light at a specific wavelength absorbed by fungal organisms. This bursts their cell walls, and heating effects essentially fry the fungus. The light energy also activates the immune system and improves nail bed circulation.

Is there any pain or downtime after laser treatment?

Most patients report little to no pain, just mild warmth in the nail during the procedure. There is no downtime required. You can get back to normal activities right after each brief session.

How long does it take to see results with laser therapy?

After several treatments, a visibly clearer new nail takes about 2 to 3 months to grow. Maximum benefit is seen at 6 to 12 months once the damaged part fully grows out.

How frequently do laser sessions need to be done?

A typical schedule is one session every 4 to 6 weeks. On average, 6 total treatments are needed. But your doctor will advise on your particular case. Maintenance sessions may be recommended every 6 to 12 months.

Does laser therapy cause any side effects or risks?

When performed properly by an experienced doctor, side effects are minimal. Temporary warmth, tingling, or redness around the nail can sometimes occur. In rare cases, bruising or blistering may happen.

Can I use laser therapy if I have artificial nails or nail polish?

The laser needs direct access to the fungus under the nail, so artificial nails must be removed. Polish also needs to be removed. Notify your technician about any existing nail enhancements before starting.

Is the fungus less likely to come back after laser treatment?

While reinfection is always possible, laser yields about 10 to 15% higher long-term clearance rates than medication alone. But preventive care is still important.

Can I get laser therapy if I have a pacemaker or take certain medications?

Yes, the laser is safe with pacemakers. But alert your doctor about all medical conditions and medications. Things like photo-sensitizing drugs may require adjustment.

Laser arguably offers the most effective treatment yet for clearing stubborn toenail fungus. While a few sessions are required, long-term results make it a worthwhile investment for many people. Check with providers in your area to learn more!

Try Laser Therapy for Toenail Fungus

Sick of toenail fungus? Modern laser treatments may offer the solution you’ve been looking for.

While insurance coverage is limited, you have options to pay for it:

  • Use tax-free health accounts
  • Seek discounts or payment plans
  • Submit claims for reimbursement
  • Use medical credit cards

You can have noticeably clearer nails in as little as 2 to 3 months. With preventive care, the fungus is less likely to return.

Don’t let embarrassing toenail fungus stop you from wearing open-toed shoes. Check out laser therapy today!

Read more: How to Verify Tree Service Insurance: Essential Steps for Peace of Mind!

Conclusion

Toenail fungus is extremely common but notoriously challenging to cure. Topical medicines have low success rates, and oral medications have side effects.

Laser therapy is emerging as a safer option with high clearance rates after several monthly sessions. While insurance coverage remains limited, you can access treatment through tax-free health accounts, financing, or payment plans.

Within a few months, you can expect visibly healthier, clearer nails again. With preventive care, the fungus is less likely to return. Don’t give up hope. Laser therapy may provide the solution to ditch stubborn toenail fungus for good, finally!

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