|With Health Insurance: $10-$50 Copay or 10%-50% Coinsurance||Without Health Insurance: $50-$200+||Hospitalization: $6,000-$25,000+|
Cellulitis is a common skin infection in which bacteria enters a wound and spreads to underlying tissue, or even to the lymph nodes and bloodstream. Because the infection can become life threatening as it advances, patients should seek immediate medical care once symptoms such as swelling and fever occur following a cut or injury.
Related articles: Staph Infection Treatment, Blood Tests, Health Insurance
- Patients seeking medical attention for cellulitis would start with an office visit to a primary care physician, which is typically covered by health insurance. For patients with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of a copay of $10-$50 or more, or coinsurance of 10%-50% or more. For patients without health insurance, an office visit typically costs $50-$200 or more.
- Treatment typically consists of a prescribed antibiotic, whether oral or topical, or in severe cases, given intravenously. Oral and topical antibiotics typically cost $5-$140 depending on whether a patient chooses a generic or brand name medication. For example, cephalexin which is available as a generic, costs $7, while the antibiotic ointment Mupirocin (Bactroban), costs $62.
- A serious infection that requires hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics can cost $6,000-$25,000 or more. At Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln, NE, it costs $200-$400 to administer a round of IV antibiotics, which could total several thousand dollars for multiple rounds of treatment.
What should be included:|
- A doctor may be able to diagnose cellulitis based on the appearance of the skin with no further testing needed. However because cellulitis can spread to the blood or lymph nodes, and cause blood clots in the leg, a doctor may also order blood or other tests to help rule out additional concerns.
- According to the Mayo Clinic patients diagnosed with cellulitis must take antibiotics for up to 14 days and should let their doctors know whether the infection is responding to treatment within three days.
- According to the National Institutes of Health longer treatment may be needed for people with chronic diseases like diabetes or compromised immune systems, as they may experience more severe cases of cellulitis.
- People with fungal infections of the feet may have recurring cellulitis because the cracks in the skin create an entry point for bacteria.
Shopping for cellulitis treatment:
- Outlets such as Costco and Walmart often sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs at significant savings. Walmart, for example, has a prescription drug program that includes certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages.
- Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% of more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, CA, for example, patients without health insurance may qualify for a 45% discount off billed charges. They'll also be offered an additional 10% discount if payment is made within 10 days of receiving a bill.
- A family doctor or dermatologist can diagnose and prescribe treatment for cellulitis. The American Board of Family Medicine offers a board-certified family physician locator , while the American Academy of Dermatology offers a dermatologist locator . FindUrgentCare.com has an urgent care center locator .
- The Mayo Clinic offers tips to help patients with cellulitis prepare for their next appointment.
| Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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