- Why do I have a copay charge on my bill?
- Why is my copay higher when I see your doctors?
- Why do I have a copay for a follow up visit?
- The doctor only spent a few minutes with me, why should I be charged for an office visit?
- Why can’t you just take a mole off and not send it to pathology?
- I have already had one skin cancer, what are my chances of getting another?
- How often should I have a skin examination?
- I have heard that we need sunlight to make vitamin D. Will I or my children become vitamin D deficient just because we avoid the sun and wear sunscreen daily?
- What is an actinic keratosis?
- What is a dysplastic nevus (also known as an atypical mole)?
Why do I have a copay charge on my bill?
Copays are due at the time of service. The copay charge is assessed when we have to send a statement to collect your copay that was not paid when you came in. Each statement may generate an additional charge for unpaid copays. If you always pay your copay at the time of service, you will never see this charge.
Why is my copay higher when I see your doctors?
Many insurance companies have a separate specialist copay written into their policies. In other words, they require a higher copay when you see a specialist. Although we disagree with these higher copays, we are obligated to collect the copay amount your insurance policy assigns.
Why do I have a copay for a follow up visit?
Every return visit is a follow up visit, whether it occurs in a few days, weeks or several months from the initial visit. All office visits, with the following exception, require a copay. The only time you don’t have a copay for a return visit is if you had a procedure that is in a surgical global period. If you return to the office while in a global period for unrelated concerns, you will be charged a copay.
The doctor only spent a few minutes with me, why should I be charged for an office visit?
Office visits are charged not only for the time involved, but for many other components. The doctors must pay someone to answer their phones, make the appointment, greet you when you arrive, prepare a chart and escort you to an examination room and so on. The office building and equipment is another expense that must be taken into consideration. The doctor’s visit itself may not be lengthy, but requires the doctor to exam you and make a diagnosis based on many years of education and experience. A diagnosis that is quick for one of our doctors to make, might be puzzling to another who is not skilled in dermatology. Essentially, patients request the doctor to formulate an opinion and treat their condition whether it takes just a moment or involves a longer time.
Why can’t you just take a mole off and not send it to pathology?
Although our doctors are very proficient at looking at the skin lesions and determining if they are suspicious, they cannot know for sure if a lesion is malignant without a pathological examination. The tissue must be examined to determine whether it is benign or malignant. If malignant, the examination also tells us what type of malignancy and IF it has spread. The removal of any lesion without pathological examination is not consistent with the standard of care for board certified physicians. The pathology exam is a protection for both the patient and the physician.
I have already had one skin cancer, what are my chances of getting another?
Studies have shown that individuals who develop one skin cancer have about a 50% risk of getting another one within the next five years. Strict sun avoidance and regular follow-up visits are very important.
How often should I have a skin examination?
The answer to this question depends upon your risk for skin cancer. In general, a yearly skin examination is an important part of a good health maintenance program, but individuals at very high risk due to a personal or family history of skin cancer may need to be seen more often.
I have heard that we need sunlight to make vitamin D. Will I or my children become vitamin D deficient just because we avoid the sun and wear sunscreen daily?
In general, the answer to this question is NO. We recommend that you eat a proper diet, take a daily vitamin supplement, and minimize your ultraviolet exposure as much as possible.
What is an actinic keratosis?
An actinic keratosis looks like a reddish scaly patch most often on the face, scalp, or arms of someone with a history of significant sun exposure. It is considered a “pre-cancerous” growth. While actinic keratoses are not inherently dangerous, some of them may turn into squamous cell carcinoma if left untreated. For this reason, we routinely remove actinic keratoses as preventive therapy. Actinic keratoses can typically be removed with non-invasive measures, including liquid nitrogen therapy and topical medications, as well as with various other techniques. Get more information here.
What is a dysplastic nevus (also known as an atypical mole)?
The word ‘nevus’ refers to a mole and the terms ‘dysplastic’ and ‘atypical’ are used interchangeably. An atypical or dysplastic nevus is a mole that is biologically benign but has some of the features that are seen in melanoma. A dysplastic nevus may meet one or more of the ‘ABCD’ criteria on visual inspection, but when biopsied, its pathological features are not sufficiently developed to render a diagnosis of melanoma. An atypical nevus may or may not need to be removed depending on how worrisome its features are. Of greatest importance is that patients with a history of one or more dysplastic nevi have an increased risk of developing a melanoma. For this reason, patients with a history of one or more abnormal moles need to keep a close eye on their skin and have any new or changing moles checked. Get more information here.