Chiropractor Dr. Scott Zack addresses this year’s chiropractic Medicare updates and how they’re affecting both patients and practitioners.
Effective since the beginning of the year, the latest chiropractic Medicare updates include relaxed documentation requirements and an amendment to the Medicare participation status change period. Experienced Michigan-based chiropractor Dr. Scott Zackprovides a closer look at the most significant updates.
“Firstly, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services revealed that the deductible was to increase slightly for Medicare beneficiaries,” reveals Dr. Zack, who’s based in the Charter Township of West Bloomfield in Oakland County, Michigan, “which covers any services offered or provided by chiropractors to their patients.”
The new, 2019 Medicare deductible, chiropractor Dr. Zack explains, is $185.
“The so-called participating status change period has also been modified,” he adds, pointing out that, while an important observation, this only affects practitioners, and not patients.
Each year, Medicare allows chiropractors to change their participation status during the final few weeks of the year. This period, according to Dr. Scott Zack, is now set to cover the last six weeks of the calendar year. Currently, chiropractors are not given the option to ‘opt out’ entirely of Medicare, as other practitioners can, but may change their status to or from either ‘participating’ or ‘non-participating’ as a Medicare provider.
“This year, Medicare documentation requirements have also been somewhat relaxed,” reveals Detroit metropolitan area chiropractor Dr. Zack.
Indeed, new for 2019, Medicare has revised and relaxed the documentation requirements for evaluation and management codes, much to the benefit of both patients and practitioners. The most significant effect of this change, however, according to Dr. Zack, will be a broad-ranging impact upon private payer documentation requirements, which themselves are heavily based upon Medicare guidelines.
Concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, chiropractic medicine is a form of alternative therapy centered predominantly around the spine. Founded in the 1890s, in more recent years, chiropractic medicine has experienced sustained demand for services, gaining widespread acceptance from conventional physicians and healthcare providers, particularly in the United States.
Lastly, Dr. Scott Zack touches on what’s known as Medicare Advantage. “Since the launch of Medicare Advantage and similar plans, additional benefits had been touted for Medicare beneficiaries,” he explains.
“The latest good news, at least in some areas, is that, as of 2019, Medicare Advantage plans are now offering benefits across the board which exceed those of standard Medicare plans,” says Dr. Zack.
“As such, there’s now a very real possibility that, in fact, so-called ‘Medicare Advantage’ plans could actually prove to be advantageous themselves for the chiropractic profession,” he adds, wrapping up.