If you have payers who didn’t play follow-the-leader with Medicare in cutting out consult codes, you have a dilemma on your hands. You have to decide what to do when your physician performs a consult, the primary insurer pays you for the service, and Medicare is the secondary payer.
Map Out a Strategy From MLN Article
CMS announced the “Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) will not pay for consults,” says Samantha Daily, billing specialist with a practice in Portland, Ore.
Recently published MLN Matters article MM6740 indicates the following: “In MSP cases, physicians and others must bill an appropriate E/M code for the services previously paid using the consultation codes [99241-99255, Office or other outpatient consultation …]. If the primary payer for the service continues to recognize consultation codes,” you should bill in one of the following two ways:
- Bill the primary payer an E/M code, and then report the amount actually paid by the primary payer, along with the same E/M code, to Medicare for determination of whether a payment is due.
- Bill the primary payer using a consult code, and then report the amount actually paid by the primary payer, along with an E/M code that is appropriate for the service, to Medicare for determination of whether a payment is due.
“The first option may be easier from a billing and claims processing perspective,” indicates CMS in the MLN Matters article.
Choose the Option That Works for You
“There is essentially no workaround for this situation, so you have to decide whether you will get paid better via payment from the primary insurer with a consult code versus the alternative (billing an E/M to both payers),” says Robert B. Burleigh, CHBME, president of Brandywine Healthcare...
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