More on ICD-10 & Coding

How major commercial insurers will handle ICD-10 claims; some are stricter than others

Several will follow Medicare's lead.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a year's grace period this summer when it comes to claims coded with ICD-10, not all large commercial payers are following suit.

We asked some of the top plans their reimbursement policies and whether they are following CMS guidelines in not denying Medicare Part B physician fee schedule claims that lack specificity, as long as they contain an ICD-10 code from the right family of codes.

[Also: ICD-10 arrives - Reactions from the first day]

Answers and interpretations varied:

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"Aetna will require providers to use ICD-10 coding for all transactions with an October 1, 2015 date of service and forward," said spokesman Matt Clyburn. "While Medicare may be making advanced payments available if Part B Medicare contractors aren't able to process claims within established time limits due to administrative issues, we don't plan on taking such action. Based on results from our extensive provider testing, we're confident that this won't be necessary."


"Humana is continuing to follow CMS guidance on the transition," said spokesman Kate Marx, without offering further detail.


"Anthem will adhere to the CMS/AMA Medicare Part B announcement released on July 6, 2015," said spokeswoman Gene Rodriguez. "Specifically, Anthem will not reject Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service claims that are coded with an ICD-10 within the correct family even if the correct level of specificity was not used."

"The announcement applies to Medicare Part B FFS claims only," Rodriguez said. "All claims, including Medicare Part B, must have a valid ICD-10 code for a date of service on or after Oct. 1, 2015."


"A code will be invalid if it has not been coded to the full number of characters required," said spokesman Mark Slitt. "When sufficient clinical information isn't known or available about a particular health condition to assign a more specific code, it will be acceptable to report the appropriate 'unspecified' code (for example, a diagnosis of pneumonia has been determined, but not the specified type). Cigna is following the CMS claim submission guidelines."

UnitedHealth Group, Kaiser Permanente and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care all declined to share their policies.

What have commercial payers told your organization? Email and let us know.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse