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See Medicare Vision Coverage Clearly

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  • July 12, 2018
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See Medicare Vision Coverage Clearly

What eye services will Medicare cover and how was recently clarified by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

What Does Medicare Actually Cover?

Medicare Part B doesn’t normally cover normal services like exams and glasses, but it will cover services treated illness or injury. There are three requirements for coverage:

  • They must fall within a “statutorily defined benefit category”.
  • The service must be reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis of treatment or injury, or to improve a malformed body part’s functioning.
  •  The diagnosis and service cannot be excluded from coverage.

Several services, such intraocular lenses (IOL), glaucoma screenings, and others, for example, are covered depending on the diagnosis and service.

Medicare and Conventional IOLs

IOLs implanted for cataracts replace the natural lenses. Glasses and contact lenses are out, but Medicare will pay for a conventional IOL, the facility and experts required to insert the IOL, and eyeglasses or contact lenses a prosthetic devices.

Medicare and Presbyopia and Astigmatism-Correcting IOLs

Medicare says, “Presbyopia and astigmatism are common eye problems corrected by presbyopia-correcting IOLs (P-C IOLs) and astigmatism-correcting IOLs (A-C IOLs). A P-C IOL or A-C IOL provides what is otherwise achieved by two separate items or services:

  • An implantable conventional IOL (one that is not P-C or A-C) that Medicare covers, and
  • The surgical correction, eyeglasses, or contact lenses to correct presbyopia or astigmatism that”

Cataract Removal and Medicare

CMS wants you to report the correct codes in the table below:

Code Descriptor
66830 Removal of secondary membranous cataract (opacified posterior lens capsule and/or anterior hyaloid) with corneo-scleral section, with or without iridectomy (iridocapsulotomy, iridocapsulectomy)
66840 Removal of lens material; aspiration technique, 1 or more stages
66850 Removal of lens material; phacofragmentation technique (mechanical or ultrasonic)
(eg, phacoemulsification), with aspiration
66852 Removal of lens material; pars plana approach, with or without vitrectomy
66920 Removal of lens material; intracapsular
66930 Removal of lens material; intracapsular, for dislocated lens
66940 Removal of lens material; extracapsular (other than 66840, 66850, 66852)
66982 Extracapsular cataract removal with insertion of intraocular lens prosthesis
(1-stage procedure), manual or mechanical technique, (eg, irrigation and aspiration or phacoemulsification), complex, requiring devices or techniques not generally used in routine cataract surgery (eg, iris expansion device, suture support for intraocular
lens, or primary posterior capsulorrhexis) or performed on patients in the amblyogenic development stage
66983 Intracapsular cataract extraction with insertion of intraocular lens prosthesis (1 stage procedure)
66984 Extracapsular cataract removal with insertion of intraocular lens prosthesis
(1 stage procedure) manual or mechanical technique (eg, irrigation and aspiration or
V2632* Posterior chamber intraocular lens
V2787** Astigmatism correcting function of intraocular lens
V2788 Presbyopia correcting function of intraocular lens

*      Physicians should bill HCPCS code V2632 in an office setting only for the payable conventional IOL functionality of the P-C or A-C IOL.
** V2787 should be billed to report the non-covered charges for the A-C IOL functionality of the inserted intraocular lens. Additionally, note that V2788 is no longer valid to report non-covered charges associated with the A-C IOL. However, this code continues to be valid to report non-covered charges of a P-C IOL.
NOTE: Cataract removal codes are mutually exclusive and billed only once per eye. For moreinformation, refer to the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) Policy Manual for Medicare Services, Chapter 8, Section D.

Medicare and Glaucoma Screenings

Medicare covers annual glaucoma screenings for beneficiaries in at least one of the following high-risk groups. Beneficiary deductible and copayment applies for the following high-risk groups. :

  • Individuals with diabetes mellitus
  • Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
  • African-Americans age 50 and older
  • Hispanic-Americans age 65 and older A covered glaucoma screening includes:
  • A dilated eye examination with an intraocular pressure measurement
  • A direct ophthalmoscopy examination, or a slit-lamp bio microscopic examination

Medical record documentation must show the beneficiary is a member of one of the high-risk groups. The documentation must also show you performed the covered screening services. Include diagnosis code Z13.5 on your claim.

Other Medicare Covered Services

Eye exams to evaluate patients for signs of disease in patients with diabetes or disease are covered, along with annual examinations for asymptomatic diabetics.
Medicare generally covers eye prostheses for patients with absence or shrinkage of an eye due to a birth defect, trauma, surgical removal. It also covers polishing, resurfacing, along with replacement after five years.

Brad Ericson
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About Has 336 Posts

Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, is a seasoned healthcare writer and editor. He directed publishing at AAPC for nearly 12 years and worked at Ingenix for 13 years and Aetna Health Plans prior to that. He has been writing and publishing about healthcare since 1979. He received his Bachelor's in Journalism from Idaho State University and his Master's of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.

No Responses to “See Medicare Vision Coverage Clearly”

  1. sandy says:

    what about the physician charge to insert the presbyopia-correcting IOLs (P-C IOLs) and astigmatism-correcting IOLs (A-C IOLs). A P-C IOL or A-C IOL? should the provider use 66999 and have the patient sign an voluntary ABN