What is an Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN)?

ABN (Advanced Beneficiary Notice):  

An ABN is a written notice from Medicare (standard government form CMS-R-131), given to you before receiving certain items or services, notifying the patient:

• Medicare may deny payment for that specific procedure or treatment.

• The patient will be personally responsible for full payment if Medicare denies payment.

An ABN gives the patient the opportunity to accept or refuse the items or services and protects the patient from unexpected financial liability in cases where Medicare denies payment. It also offers the patient the right to appeal Medicare’s decision. You follow office policy on keeping the ABN form on file and you ad the modifier GA to the claim. Modifier GA informs Medicare of the ABN transaction. If you do not have the patient sign the ABN form and the claim is denied, then you cannot bill the patient for the denied claim.

The patient has the option to receive the items or services or to refuse them. In either case, the patient should choose one option on the form by checking the box provided, and then signing and dating it in the space provided.

When the patient signs an ABN and becomes liable for payment, the patient will have to pay for the item or service themselves, either out-of-pocket or by some other insurance coverage which they may have in addition to Medicare. Medicare fee schedule amounts and balance billing limits do not apply. The amount of the bill is a matter between the patient and provider. If this is a concern for the patient, they might want to ask for a cost estimate before they sign the ABN.

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