March 6, 2018

Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN) Completion Tips

Medicare Claims Processing Manual (Pub. 100-04, Ch. 30, ยง 50.15.4 External PDF).

The CGS Medical Review department has noticed easily curable errors when completing the Advance Beneficiary Notice.

Completing the header:

  • Header: Blanks A-C, the header of the notice, must be completed by the notifier prior to delivering the ABN.
  • Blank (A) Notifier(s): Notifiers must place their name, address, and telephone number (including TTY number when needed) at the top of the notice. This information may be incorporated into a notifier’s logo at the top of the notice by typing, hand-writing, pre- printing, using a label or other means.
  • If the billing and notifying entities are not the same, the name of more than one entity may be given in the Header as long as it is specified in the Additional Information (H) section who should be contacted for billing questions.

Completing ALL 7 Blank (D) descriptors:

  • Please note that there are a total of 7 Blank (D) fields that the notifier must complete on the ABN. Notifiers are encouraged to populate all of the Blank (D) fields in advance when a general descriptor such as “Item(s)/Service(s)” is used. All Blank (D) fields must be completed on the ABN in order for the notice to be considered valid.

Use of abbreviations:

  • HHAs must avoid using abbreviations in the body of the notice unless the abbreviation is already spelled out elsewhere. For example, an abbreviation such as “PT” that can have multiple meanings in a home health setting (part-time, physical therapy, prothrombin time) should be spelled out at least once on the ABN next to the abbreviation of the word(s). When this is done, the abbreviation can be used again on the notice. ABNs containing abbreviations that are not defined in this manner on the notice may be invalidated by contractors.

Cost estimate is unclear:

  • HHAs should follow the ABN form instruction guidelines for providing cost estimates for items or services. The cost estimate must be a good faith estimate based on agency charges and the expected frequency and duration of each service. Cost estimates per visit or per number of visits weekly are acceptable. A difference in the cost estimate and actual cost will not automatically invalidate the ABN. The cost estimate must give the beneficiary an idea of what his/her out of pocket costs might be if s/he chooses to receive the care listed on the ABN.

Cost estimate examples:
$440 for 4 weekly nursing visits in 1/13.
$260 for 3 physical therapy visits 1/3-1/7/13.
$50 for spare right arm splint.

When more than one item and/or service is at issue, the HHA must enter separate cost estimates for each item or service as clearly as possible, including information on the period of time involved when appropriate.

Additional resources to assist in completing the ABN include:

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