Denial code 279 is used when the services provided are not from the preferred network providers. This code is typically used when there are limitations on the member's network, such as using contracted providers who are not part of the member's 'narrow' network.
Common causes of code 279 are:
1. Services provided by non-preferred network providers: This code is often used when healthcare services are rendered by providers who are not part of the preferred network. It may occur when a patient seeks treatment from a healthcare professional who is not contracted with the insurance plan or is not included in the member's specific network.
2. Network limitations: Code 279 can be triggered when there are limitations on the member's network. For instance, some insurance plans have different tiers of networks, such as a "narrow" network or a "preferred" network. If the services are provided by a provider who is not part of the member's specific network, this code may be used.
3. Out-of-network services: When a patient receives services from a healthcare provider who is considered out-of-network by their insurance plan, code 279 may be assigned. This can happen when a patient seeks care from a specialist or facility that is not included in their insurance plan's network.
4. Referrals not obtained: In some cases, insurance plans require patients to obtain a referral from their primary care physician before seeking services from a specialist. If the referral is not obtained and the patient receives services from a non-preferred provider, code 279 may be used.
5. Lack of prior authorization: Certain healthcare services may require prior authorization from the insurance company before they can be covered. If the necessary authorization is not obtained and the services are provided by a non-preferred provider, code 279 may be assigned.
It is important for healthcare providers to be aware of these common causes of code 279 in order to address any potential issues and ensure proper reimbursement for the services provided.
Ways to mitigate code 279 include:
1. Verify network participation: Before providing services to a patient, ensure that the healthcare provider is a preferred network provider for the patient's insurance plan. This can be done by regularly updating and cross-checking the provider's network participation status with the insurance company.
2. Educate staff on network limitations: Train your staff to be aware of the specific network limitations associated with each insurance plan. This will help them guide patients to the appropriate providers within their network and avoid using contracted providers who are not part of the patient's 'narrow' network.
3. Utilize electronic eligibility verification: Implement an electronic eligibility verification system that allows you to quickly check a patient's insurance coverage and network participation status. This will help you identify any network limitations before providing services and avoid potential denials.
4. Communicate with patients: Clearly communicate to patients about their network limitations and the importance of using preferred network providers. Provide them with a list of in-network providers or direct them to online directories where they can easily find preferred providers.
5. Prior authorization: For services that may be subject to network limitations, ensure that you obtain prior authorization from the insurance company. This will help you confirm coverage and network participation before providing the services, reducing the risk of denials related to code 279.
6. Regularly review and update contracts: Stay updated with the contracts you have with insurance companies and regularly review them to ensure that you are aware of any changes in network participation requirements. This will help you proactively address any potential issues related to code 279.
By implementing these strategies, healthcare providers can minimize the risk of denials related to code 279 and ensure that services are provided by preferred network providers, in accordance with the patient's insurance plan.
The steps to address code 279 are as follows:
1. Review the patient's insurance information: Verify if the patient's insurance plan has any network limitations or restrictions. Check if the services provided were indeed outside the preferred network providers.
2. Validate the provider's network status: Confirm if the provider who rendered the services is contracted with the patient's insurance plan. Ensure that the provider's participation status is up to date and accurate.
3. Check for any exceptions or prior authorizations: Determine if there are any exceptions or prior authorizations in place for the specific services rendered. Some insurance plans may allow services outside the preferred network providers under certain circumstances.
4. Gather supporting documentation: Collect all relevant documentation, including the referral or authorization forms, to demonstrate that the services were necessary and appropriate for the patient's condition.
5. Appeal the denial: Prepare a comprehensive appeal letter that outlines the reasons why the services were provided outside the preferred network providers. Emphasize any extenuating circumstances or medical necessity that justified the choice of provider.
6. Submit the appeal: Follow the insurance company's specific appeals process and submit the appeal letter along with all supporting documentation. Ensure that the appeal is submitted within the designated timeframe specified by the insurance plan.
7. Monitor the progress: Keep track of the appeal's progress and any communication from the insurance company. Follow up regularly to ensure that the appeal is being reviewed and processed in a timely manner.
8. Consider alternative payment options: If the appeal is unsuccessful, explore alternative payment options with the patient, such as self-pay or setting up a payment plan. Communicate transparently with the patient about their financial responsibility and provide assistance in navigating the payment process.
Remember, each insurance plan may have its own specific requirements and processes for addressing code 279. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the particular guidelines of the patient's insurance plan and adapt the steps accordingly.