Deadline Alert: New ABN Form Must Be Used Starting Sept. 1

A reminder regarding Medicare’s Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN): Starting on Sept. 1, using the new (revised) form will be mandatory.
A new ABN (CMS-R-131) was introduced in March, but that announcement was followed by a six-month transition period, during which suppliers were allowed to use either the new form or the previous one.Starting next month, using the old form will no longer be an option.

What’s New with the New ABN?
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the new ABN form contains the following “key features”:
•    A new name designed to more accurately fit the form’s purpose: Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage.
•    A mandatory field for cost estimates of the items/services involved.
•    A new beneficiary option, “under which an individual may choose to receive an item/service and pay for it out of pocket, rather than have a claim submitted to Medicare.”
The new ABN, says CMS, replaces the previous ABN-G and ABN-L forms, and can also be used for voluntary notifications, “in place of the Notice of Exclusion from Medicare Benefits (NEMB).”

Additional Policies & Information
CMS says the new ABN, as an Office of Management & Budget (OMB)-approved form, cannot be altered — and that includes translating the form into other languages.
CMS now has a Spanish version of the form posted to its Web site.
To access the new ABN, download copies and read instructions, go to www.cms.hhs.gov/BNI/
02_ABNGABNL.asp#TopOfPage
.
For a Spanish ABN form, go to the Web address listed above and click on the appropriate pdf in the Downloads section.
Also available in the Downloads section are an ABN frequently asked questions document and the general ABN announcement.

This article originally appeared in the August 2008 issue of Mobility Management.

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