Remark code N103 indicates that the records show the patient was incarcerated at the time the medical service was provided. This specific payer does not cover services provided to individuals in custody, unless the individual is personally responsible for healthcare costs by state or local law, and efforts are made to collect the costs with the same effort as other debts. The healthcare provider should seek payment from the appropriate Federal, State, or Local Authority.
Common causes of code N103 are:
1. The patient was incarcerated at the time the healthcare service was provided, and the claim was submitted to an insurer that does not cover services for incarcerated individuals.
2. The billing office may have inaccurately coded the patient's status, not realizing that the patient was in custody at the time of service.
3. There may be a lack of coordination between the healthcare provider and the correctional facility, leading to confusion about who is financially responsible for the patient's medical expenses.
4. The claim may have been submitted without proper documentation or verification that the state or local government is actively pursuing the collection of healthcare costs from the patient, as required by the payer's policy.
5. The healthcare provider may have failed to bill the correct entity, such as the Federal, State, or local authority responsible for the healthcare costs of the incarcerated individual.
Ways to mitigate code N103 include implementing a thorough verification process for patient status prior to service delivery. Ensure that your intake forms and patient interviews include questions about current custody status. Train your front desk and billing staff to identify individuals who may be under the custody of a Federal, State, or local authority. Establish protocols to check with the appropriate authorities to confirm the custody status of a patient if there is any doubt. Additionally, develop a clear policy for handling situations where a patient is in custody, including understanding when and how to bill the responsible government entity for services rendered. Regularly review and update these procedures to stay compliant with any changes in regulations or payer policies.
The steps to address code N103 involve verifying the patient's incarceration status at the time of service. If the patient was indeed in custody, you should determine if the state or local law holds the individual personally liable for healthcare costs. If so, confirm that the government entity is actively pursuing the debt. If the patient is liable and the debt is pursued as stated, you should bill the appropriate Federal, State, or Local Authority directly for reimbursement. If the patient was not in custody or if the laws do not hold the patient liable, you may need to appeal the claim with supporting documentation or consider other payer sources, such as the patient or a secondary insurance, if applicable. Ensure that all billing actions comply with the relevant laws and agreements.