Confusion, unhappiness, and many unresolved issues remain about the way government and private payers are handling claims for molecular diagnostic tests covered by the 114 new CPT codes
Dust is settling from the fiasco triggered by the Medicare program’s failure to be ready on January 1, 2013, to settle molecular diagnostic test claims filed under the 114 new Tier 1 and Tier 2 molecular CPT codes. The damage is not just limited to Medicare test claims, but also involves private health plans that were waiting to let the Medicare program set precedents on coverage and prices for the new molecular test codes.
Many Clinical Laboratories Must Cope With an Unsatisfactory Situation
Although federal Medicare officials and Medicare contractors have scrambled to rectify the situation, even today there is much unhappiness across the clinical laboratory industry about the current state of things. That unhappiness extends to state Medicaid and private payers because many of these payers have been slow to publish coverage guidelines and prices for these new molecular test CPT codes.
Medicare contractors are setting prices that are 40% to 60% lower than they paid medical laboratories last year for these same molecular diagnostic tests
Non-payment for most new molecular diagnostic test CPT codes continues to be a problem for the majority of medical laboratories across the country.
A lack of payment for these claims, have forced some clinical laboratories and pathology groups to stop doing molecular testing and lay off staff. At least one lab company shut its doors, blaming non-payment by its Medicare contractor as the primary reason.
For more than a year Medicare contractors have been developing payment rates for the 114 molecular tests and without setting rates, they cannot make payments.
New Orleans, Louisiana, April 30, 2013—Getting paid for molecular test claims submitted under the new molecular CPT codes was a subject of high interest on the opening day of the Executive War College. Most clinical laboratories and pathology groups performing molecular tests nationwide report that they have not been paid for invoices submitted to Medicare contractors since January 1, 2013.
Several sessions were devoted to this important topic. Medicare contractors nationwide have not paid many of the molecular diagnostic test claims submitted since January 1 according to speakers and attendees at the first day of The Dark Report’s 18th Annual Executive War College in New Orleans. (more…)
Columnist Steve Gottlieb, M.D., wrote that “This sort of bungling may be without precedent, even for the Medicare agency”
Since the beginning of the year, most Medicare contractors and private health insurers have not paid clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology practices for molecular diagnostic test claims coded to the 114 new molecular test CPT codes.
This unprecedented situation of labs going unpaid for more than three months has created financial turmoil and uncertainty across the medical laboratory profession. In fact, the question must be asked: Did Forbes columnist Scott Gottlieb, M.D., wake up the nation’s Medicare contractors with his column published on March 27? (more…)