Medicare reimbursement could rev up COVID-19 antibody testing

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The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) has notified its members that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is reimbursing labs for the most commonly performed COVID-19 serologic tests at the rate of $42.13.

ACLA President Julie Khani applauded the reimbursement rate, noting that it will allow labs to expand testing capacity. Two Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes may be used to bill for tests conducted after April 10 -- 86769 and 86328, CMS explained in a May 19 statement.

The CMS announced changes to reimbursement policy for COVID-19 tests on April 30, including more relaxed requirements for ordering diagnostic tests and coverage for antibody tests. The rollout of molecular tests for the coronavirus showed the importance of adequate reimbursement for expanding access to testing in labs.

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