On June 20, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a newly-revised version of the Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN) form [CMS-R-131] for use by Medicare fee-for-service providers and suppliers.

The ABN is a notice that is given to Medicare beneficiaries by providers and suppliers to convey that Medicare is not likely to provide coverage for proposed services, thus the beneficiary or another payor will be liable for payment if the services are rendered by the provider.  The ABN must be verbally reviewed with the beneficiary or his/her representative, and questions raised during that review must be answered before it is signed.  The ABN must be delivered to the beneficiary far enough in advance of the noncovered services to allow the beneficiary to consider alternatives and to make an informed choice. 

The new ABN form replaces the General Use ABN [CMS-R-131-G] and the Lab ABN [CMS-R-131-L].  The CMS Beneficiary Notices Initiative website indicates that providers may use the previous versions of the ABN forms until November 1, 2011.  After this date, CMS will no longer recognize providers’ use of the older ABN forms, which were released in March 2008.

For more information from CMS regarding the newly revised ABN, click here.  For detailed instructions in the Medicare Claims Processing Manual regarding the completion of an ABN form, click here.