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CMS establishes additional coronavirus lab test code, coverage fact sheets

In a swift call to action, CMS has introduced a second HCPCS novel coronavirus lab test code for you to add to revenue billing cycles and released three fact sheets that spell out public and private health care insurance coverage policies.
The new code, U0002, permits laboratories to bill for non-CDC laboratory tests for SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV (COVID-19). CMS announced the code in a dispatch dated March, 6, 2020.
On Feb. 29, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new, streamlined policy for certain laboratories to develop their own validated COVID-19 diagnostics. The newly released HCPCS code may be used for tests developed by these laboratories when submitting claims to Medicare or private health insurers. CMS expects that having specific codes for these tests will encourage testing and improve tracking.
CMS issued the first code, U0001, Feb. 13 to bill for tests and track new cases of the virus. The Medicare claims processing system will accept these codes starting on April 1, 2020, for dates of service on or after Feb. 4, 2020. 
“CMS continues to leverage every tool at our disposal in responding to COVID-19,”  said Seema Verma, CMS administrator, in special newsletter published March 6. “Our new code will help encourage doctors and laboratories to use these essential tests for patients who need them. At the same time, we are providing critical information to our 130 million beneficiaries, many of whom are understandably wondering what will be covered when it comes to this virus.”
The agency also released three fact sheets that cover diagnostic laboratory tests, immunizations and vaccines, telemedicine, drugs, quarantine payment scenarios and cost-sharing policies (see resource, below). 
The coverage and payment fact sheet informs all Medicare Part B stakeholders that medically necessary clinical diagnostic lab tests a doctor or other practitioner orders are covered. A second fact sheet outlines Medicaid’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) related to coronavirus coverage, and the third memo summarizes individual and small group market insurance coverage for viral infections.
Paying close attention to these handouts and memos is imperative to stay in the know on how to prepare for COVID-19 coding and billing.  
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