by Christine Woolstenhulme, QCC, QMCS, CPC, CMRS
February 23rd, 2016
An ABN may be used for services which are likely to be non-covered, whether for medical necessity or for other reasons. Refer to CMS Publication 100-04, Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 30, for complete instructions.
Effective from April 1st, 2010, non-covered services should be billed with modifier –GA, -GX, -GY, or –GZ, as appropriate.
The –GA modifier (“Waiver of Liability Statement Issued as Required by Payer Policy”) should be used when physicians, practitioners, or suppliers want to indicate that they anticipate that Medicare will deny a specific service as not reasonable and necessary, and they do have an ABN signed by the beneficiary on file. Modifier GA applies only when services will be denied under reasonable and necessary provisions, sections 1862(a)(1), 1862(a)(9), 1879(e), or 1879(g) of the Social Security Act. Effective April 1, 2010, Part A MAC systems will automatically deny services billed with modifier GA. An ABN, Form CMS-R-131, should be signed by the beneficiary to indicate that he/she accepts responsibility for payment. The -GA modifier may also be used on assigned claims when a patient refuses to sign the ABN and the latter is properly witnessed. For claims submitted to the Part A MAC, occurrence code 32 and the date of the ABN is required.
Modifier GX (“Notice of Liability Issued, Voluntary Under Payer Policy”) should be used when the beneficiary has signed an ABN, and a denial is anticipated based on provisions other than medical necessity, such as statutory exclusions of coverage or technical issues. An ABN is not required for these denials, but if non-covered services are reported with modifier GX, Part A MAC systems will automatically deny the services.
The –GZ modifier should be used when physicians, practitioners, or suppliers want to indicate that they expect that Medicare will deny an item or service as not reasonable and necessary and they have not had an ABN signed by the beneficiary.
If the service is statutorily non-covered, or without a benefit category, submit the appropriate CPT/HCPCS code with the -GY modifier. An ABN is not required for these denials, and the limitation of liability does not apply for beneficiaries. Services with modifier GY will automatically deny.