CPT code and Description
U0001 – 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel should be used when specimens are sent to the CDC and CDC-approved local/state health department laboratories.
U0002 – 2019-nCoV Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV (COVID-19), any technique, multiple types or subtypes (includes all targets), non-CDC should be used when specimens are sent to commercial laboratories, e.g. Quest or LabCorp, and not to the CDC or CDC-approved local/state health department laboratories.
87635 – Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), amplified probe technique. Use of code 87635 will help the labs to efficiently report and track testing services related to SARS-CoV-2 and will streamline the reporting and reimbursement for this test in the US.
There are two new HCPCS codes for healthcare providers who need to test patients for Coronavirus. Providers using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2019 Novel Coronavirus Real Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Test Panel may bill for that test using the newly created HCPCS code (U0001). A second new HCPCS code (U0002) can be used by laboratories and healthcare facilities to bill Medicare as well as by other health insurers that choose to adopt this new code for such tests. HCPCS code (U0002) generally describes 2019-nCoV Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV (COVID-19) using any technique, multiple types or subtypes (includes all targets). The Medicare claims processing system will be able to accept these codes on April 1, 2020 for dates of service on or after February 4, 2020.
CPT code and reimbursement rate
U0001 – $35.92
U0002 – $51.33
The appropriate modifier should be assigned based on the below information,
GT – Via Interactive Audio and Video Telecommunications systems
GQ – Via Asynchronous Telecommunications systems.
95 – Synchronous Telemedicine Service Rendered Via a Real-Time Interactive Audio and Video Telecommunications system (reported only with codes from Appendix P)
G0 -Telehealth services for diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment, of symptoms of an acute stroke
Telemedicine service can be billed under POS 02.
The codes for classifying coronavirus (not associated with SARS) include,
Pneumonia due to coronavirus: J12.89 (Other viral pneumonia) and B97.29 (Other coronavirus as the cause of diseases classified elsewhere)
Sepsis due to coronavirus: A41.89 (Other specified sepsis) and B97.29
Other infection caused by coronavirus: B34.2 (Coronavirus infection, unspecified)
If the provider documents “suspected”, “possible” or “probable” COVID-19, do not assign code B97.29. Assign a code(s) explaining the reason for encounter (such as fever, or Z20.828).
Medicaid will start to cover these services effective from March 16th, 2020 and the date of service would be February 4th, 2020.
FAQs on Essential Health Benefit Coverage and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Q1. Do the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) currently include coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19?
A1. Yes. EHB generally includes coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
However, the exact coverage details and cost-sharing amounts for individual services may vary by plan, and some plans may require prior authorization before these services are covered. Nongrandfathered health insurance plans purchased by individuals and small employers, including qualified health plans purchased on the Exchanges, must provide coverage for ten categories of EHB.1 These ten categories of benefits include, among other things, hospitalization and laboratory services. Under current regulation, each state and the District of Columbia generally determines the specific benefits that plans in that state must cover within the ten EHB categories.
This standard set of benefits determined by the state is called the EHB-benchmark plan. All 51 EHB-benchmark plans currently provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID19.2 Many health plans have publicly announced that COVID-19 diagnostic tests are covered benefits and will be waiving any cost-sharing that would otherwise apply to the test. Furthermore, many states are encouraging their issuers to cover a variety of COVID-19 related services, including testing and treatment, without cost-sharing, while several states have announced that health plans in the state must cover the diagnostic testing of COVID-19 without cost-sharing and waive any prior authorization requirements for such testing.
Q2. Is isolation and quarantine for the diagnosis of COVID-19 covered as EHB?
A2. All EHB-benchmark plans cover medically necessary hospitalizations. Medically necessary isolation and quarantine required by and under the supervision of a medical provider during a hospital admission are generally covered as EHB. The cost-sharing and specific coverage limitations associated with these services may vary by plan. For example, some plans may require prior authorization before these services are covered or may apply other limitations. Quarantine outside of a hospital setting, such as a home, is not a medical benefit, nor is it required as EHB. However, other medical benefits that occur in the home that are required by and under the supervision of a medical provider, such as home health care or telemedicine, may be covered as EHB, but may require prior authorization or be subject to cost-sharing or other limitations.
Q3. When a COVID-19 vaccine is available, will it be covered as EHB, and will issuers be permitted to require cost-sharing?
A3. A COVID-19 vaccine does not currently exist. However, current law and regulations require specific vaccines to be covered as EHB without cost-sharing, and before meeting any applicable deductible, when the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends them. Under current regulations, if ACIP recommends a new vaccine, plans are not required to cover the vaccine until the beginning of the plan year that is 12 months after ACIP issues the recommendation. However, plans may voluntarily choose to cover a vaccine for COVID-19, with or without cost-sharing, prior to that date.
In addition, as part of a plan’s responsibility to cover prescription drugs as EHB, as described above to cover ACIP-recommended vaccines, if a plan does not provide coverage of a vaccine (or other prescription drugs) on the plan’s formulary enrollees may use the plan’s drug exceptions process to request that the vaccine be covered under their plan, pursuant to 45 CFR 156.122(c)
Does Aetna cover the cost of COVID-19 testing for members?
CVS Health recently announced Aetna will waive co-pays and apply no cost-sharing for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19 and there will be no member out of pocket cost. This policy will cover the cost of physician-ordered testing for patients who meet CDC guidelines, which can be done in any approved laboratory location. Aetna will waive the member costs associated with diagnostic testing at any authorized location for all Commercial, Medicare and Medicaid lines of business. Self-insured plan sponsors will be able to opt-out of this program at their discretion.
How will doctors and hospitals have access to COVID-19 lab testing?
Patients who have concerns that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or may have symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their physician or local/state Department of Health for testing. The test specimens will be obtained and then sent to a laboratory. We are not currently able to do specimen collection or testing at MinuteClinic or CVS Retail pharmacies. The CDC states that coronavirus testing may be performed on patients with a doctor’s approval.