Advocacy in action
AOA works to reduce administrative burden and protect patient care
The AOA advocates with private payers to decrease administrative burden for physicians, streamline payment of claims and improve outcomes for patients. Working on behalf of the nation’s 186,000+ DOs and medical students, the AOA physician services team engages with health care payers when policies delay or deny patient care, create added administrative work or otherwise hinder efficient health care delivery.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Physician Services or call (312) 202-8194. If your AOA membership is not current and you wish to take advantage of this and all other AOA member benefits, you may join or renew your membership online.
Insurer Policies that may impact DOs
Insurers continue to target claims involving modifier 25 with policies that trigger automatic audits, some may be based on the diagnosis and time between claims, others are based strictly on the use of the modifier. Other denials may be for prepayment clinical validation for a range of modifiers. AOA works closely with members experiencing increased denials or payment delays.
The Blue Plans
Jan. 2022 | Evaluation and Management for Office or Other Outpatient Services
Sept. 2021 | Submitting Claims with Multiple Diagnosis
Blue Cross Complete of Michigan
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HCSC (Includes Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas)
Jan. 2022 BCBSIL Commercial Claims Editing Coming April 2022
BCBSTX General Reimbursement Information
June 2018 BCBSTX Modifier 25 and 59 FAQs
April 2018 BCBSTX Claim Filing Tips
Oct. 2017 BCBSTX Blue Review code-auditing software implementation
Dec. 2022 | E&M Codes Appended with Modifier 25
May 2022 | Claim Reimbursement Update: E&M with Modifier 25
Nov. 2021 | Horizon E/M with OMT
April 2022 | Revised Claim Editing Rules
Aug. 2022 | Reimbursement Update: E/M -25
AOA Physician Services communicated with Regence and Cambia (Regence parent company) leadership regarding customer service issues and various reimbursement policies, especially related to denials for E&M with OMT services. Regence responded that appealed claims have a 3.4% overturn rate and that they have adjusted their claim editing process, beginning in 2022, which demonstrates less overall impact to providers. Regence confirmed that changes were made in their customer service department that hopefully result in better provider experience. The AOA will continue to aggressively pursue Regence action. If you are still having customer service issues with Regence, please let Physician Services know. Studies show that 65% of denied claims annually do not get appealed. We strongly encourage physicians to appeal against all claims.
Nov. 2022 Chiropractic & Osteopathic Treatments Policy 138
Sept. 2022 Bundling Edits Policy 105
July 2022 Modifier 25: Significant, Separately Identifiable Service
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Reimbursement Policy Feedback Form
Regence medical policy comments from physicians and other health care professionals
May 2023 manipulation services: In the osteopathic manipulative treatment section, added that an assessment is considered part of the manipulation procedure code. Also added reference to the CMS National Physician Fee Schedule stating that the OMT codes are classified as minor procedures.
- We limit osteopathic manipulative therapy to one manipulation code, per provider, per patient, per day.
- A new patient Evaluation and Management (E&M) code will be reimbursed consistent with the new/established patient guidelines. All E&M services billed on the same day as an osteopathic manipulation will be reimbursed when billed consistent with Modifier 25 payment policy if the E&M service represents a service above and beyond the usual preservice/post service work associated with the osteopathic service. Documentation must support the use of Modifier 25.
Jan. 2023 E&M Visit: Added third paragraph to indicate that the appending of Modifier 25 is not a guarantee of payment. Added the last paragraph in the policy to indicate appending Modifier 25 to the E&M must be documented in the notes as a separate and distinct E&M service.
March 2022 Modifier 25 Policy Updates: Added clarification on the correct use of Modifier 25 on evaluation and management (E&M) services indicating that appending Modifier 25 does not result in automatic reimbursement unless supported by the documentation in the member’s medical record as a separately identifiable service.
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The Physician Services Team meets with Cigna annually to learn about new policies, or as warranted to express concerns from members.
Following advocacy efforts by the AOA/AOIA Physician Services Team, the AMA and impacted specialties, Cigna announced that it delayed the implementation of their reimbursement policy requiring the submission of office notes with claims submitted with E/M codes 99212-99215 and modifier 25 when a minor procedure is billed. The policy was scheduled to take effect on Aug. 13, 2022, and again on May 25, 2023. While Cigna remains committed to ensuring appropriate usage and reporting of Modifier 25, they have acknowledged that the policy does not comply with clean claims laws in 24 states. Cigna has not provided a new potential implementation date for the policy.
Official Cigna Notification Banner: Cigna will delay the implementation to require the submission of documentation to support the use of Modifier 25 when billed with E/M CPT® codes 99212 – 99215 and a minor procedure. Cigna will continue to review for future implementation.
Modifier 25 Reimbursement Policy: Modifier 25 – Significant, Separately Identifiable Evaluation and Management Service by the Same Physician on the Same Day of the Procedure or Other Service
Cigna Evaluation & Management Coding Program
Cigna Information to Establish Medical Necessity
Cigna Provider Newsletters
The Physician Services Team meets with Humana semiannually to learn about new policies or sooner if warranted to express concerns from members.
Oct. 2019 | Humana E/M billed with Modifier 25
Registration Humana Newsletter
The Physician Services Team meets with UHC monthly to learn about new policies and to express concerns from members.
The AOA has joined the multi-organizational sign-on letter (172 national and state medical specialty societies, patient organizations, foundations, physician groups, hospitals and industry) to UHC asking them not to implement the United Healthcare’s (UHC) gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy prior authorization program.
June 2023 | Prior authorization for gastroenterology endoscopy services
March 2022 | UHC Electronic Payment Requirements
2022 | Smart Edits FAQ
2022 | UnitedHealthcare Smart Edits
2022 | UHC Significant, Separately Identifiable Evaluation and Management Service
Aug. 2021 | UHC MA Osteopathic Manipulations Policy Guidelines
July 2021 | UHC Commercial Manipulative Therapy Medical Policy
Registration UHC Email Briefs