The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently updated the Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage form … you know it as the ABN. While there are no dramatic modifications, suppliers should use the new version for all ABNs executed on or after July 1, 2023. CMS could invalidate ABNs executed with the old form after its expiration date.
Perhaps more importantly, CMS’s attempt to better inform beneficiaries of their rights regarding the form’s accessibility options may mislead customers into thinking Medicare does not intend for them to share in certain financial responsibility. DME suppliers should prepare to explain the ABN’s new language to customers clearly and concisely.
Better ABN Accessibility Disclosure May Confuse Medicare Beneficiaries
Suppliers may be surprised to learn the ABN form is available in a variety of accessible languages and formats. The new form expands disclosures related to ABN accessibility options and rights. It reads:
You have the right to get Medicare information in an accessible format, like large print, Braille, or audio. You also have the right to file a complaint if you feel you’ve been discriminated against. Visit Medicare.gov/about-us/accessibility-nondiscrimination-notice.
We worry suppliers and their customers may misunderstand. This statement discloses the individual’s right to file a complaint against CMS for not providing the ABN information in a format the beneficiary can use. It is not a means to register displeasure about having to execute an ABN or take financial responsibility for services not covered by the Medicare program.
Although a patient’s understanding or approval of the CMS dispute process does not affect the ABN protections afforded to the supplier, savvy intake personnel and customer service representatives should anticipate the confusion and prepare accordingly.