ABN notice for - Home health agency

Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN), Form CMS-R-131 

This article is based on Change Request (CR) 8404 which provides: 1) instructions for Home Health Agency (HHA) use of the Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN) to replace the outgoing Home Health Advance Beneficiary Notice (HHABN), Form CMS-R-296, Option Box 1; 2) ABN issuance guidelines for therapy services and therapy specific examples; and 3) minor editorial changes  to clarify existing manual instructions regarding ABN issuance.

Home health agencies and therapy providers should make sure that their health care and billing staff are aware of these ABN policy changes. All other providers should note that there have been no substantive changes to the ABN form or general instructions for issuance and can reference MM7821 (available at http://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/Downloads/mm7821.pdf) for general ABN information.


HHA Use of ABN – General Use


HHAs are required to issue an ABN to Original Medicare beneficiaries in specific situations where “Limitation on Liability” (LOL) protection is afforded under Section 1879 of the Act for items and/or services that the HHA believes Medicare will not cover (see Table 1 below). In these circumstances, if the beneficiary chooses to receive the items/services in question and Medicare does not cover the home care, HHAs may use the ABN to shift liability for the non-covered home care to the beneficiary.

ABNs are not used in managed care; however, when a beneficiary transitions to Medicare managed care from Original Medicare during a home health episode, ABN issuance is required when there are potential charges to the beneficiary that fall under the LOL projections. HHAs should contact their RHHI if they have questions on the ABN or related instructions, since RHHIs process home health claims for Original Medicare. The following chart summarizes the statutory provisions related to ABN issuance for LOL purposes.

The below situation ABN can we givein - Brief Description of Situation

Care is not reasonable and necessary
Custodial care is the only care delivered
Beneficiary does not need skilled nursing care on an intermittent basis

If one of the above situations applies and the beneficiary chooses to receive the  home care items/services that may not be covered by Medicare, HHAs must issue the ABN to the beneficiary to notify him/her of potential financial responsibility. In addition, when Medicare considers an item or service experimental (e.g., a “Research Use Only” or “Investigational Use Only” laboratory test), payment for the experimental item or service is denied under Section 1862(a)(1) of the Act as not
reasonable and necessary. In circumstances such as this, the beneficiary must be given an ABN.

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