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Visit Costs: Understanding The Cost Structure Of Dermatology Visits

One of the most common inquiries that dermatology practices receive revolves around the question of visit costs.

The financial aspects of medical care can be challenging to navigate, and it’s only natural for patients to have questions and concerns about visit costs. Specifically, some may wonder why the cost of dermatology visits cannot be negotiated. This article aims to provide clarity on this topic, focusing on the significant role insurance companies play in determining these costs.

The Role of Insurance Companies in Visit Costs

First, it’s vital to understand the relationship between medical practices, including dermatology, and insurance companies in determining visit costs. Medical insurance is a contract between you—the patient—and the insurance company. This contract states that the insurance company will bear a part of your medical costs in exchange for the premiums that you pay.

Every insurance company maintains contracts with various healthcare providers, like your dermatologist, to form a network of ‘in-network’ providers. The insurance company and the healthcare provider agree upon specific prices for various services, known as the ‘contracted rate.

The Concept of Contracted Rate

The contracted rate is the set amount that your insurance has agreed to pay your dermatologist for a particular service. It is the cornerstone of the agreement between your dermatologist and the insurance company.

This negotiated rate is typically less than the actual cost of the service, as the insurance company can guarantee a certain volume of patients to the healthcare provider. This also means that patients within the network can access these services at a lower cost, as compared to ‘out-of-network’ providers who have not agreed to the contracted rates with your insurance company.

Why Can’t The Cost of Visits Be Negotiated?

Since the contracted rate is a previously agreed-upon rate between the insurance company and the dermatology practice, it cannot be negotiated at the time of service. It is fixed and predetermined, ensuring predictability and fairness in visit costs.

By adhering to the contracted rate, dermatology practices maintain their ‘in-network’ status and continue to provide their services to a wide range of insured patients. Conversely, not collecting the contracted rate violates the agreement with the insurance company. This can have significant consequences, including the insurance company no longer allowing the dermatology practice to be a part of their network.

What Does This Mean for Patients?

This visit cost structure ensures that the patient, the insurance company, and the dermatology practice each understand their responsibilities upfront, thereby reducing confusion and conflict. The contracted rate offers a degree of financial predictability to you—the patient—as you can be assured that you won’t be charged more than what is specified in your insurance plan.


It is important to understand your insurance plan, including what it covers and your financial obligations. If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact your insurance company or our billing department for further assistance. We are here to help you navigate this complex process and ensure you receive the care you need.

Schedule a consultation today or call us at 248-436-4888 to to make an appointment.

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Apollo Dermatology - Board Certified Dermatologist Office serving Auburn Hills, Lake Orion, Rochester Hills, Troy MI, and all of Southeast Michigan