INSTRUCTIONS for PATIENTS FILING FOR REIMBURSEMENT
You are encouraged to file a claim for third party reimbursement. By filing a claim, you may receive partial or full reimbursement and you help to establish the need for reimbursement of lactation services. You may find it helpful to contact your insurance company first. Some companies have specific forms that they require you to fill out when filing a claim on your own and most companies have a filing time limit. The following details will get you started.
1. Make at least one copy of the blank form (the superbill you were given at your consultation) —before you fill out the patient information on the top. This will ensure that you have another copy in case you have to appeal, or the insurance company loses the form or if you want to re-send with different patient information. (parent vs baby) It is your responsibility to keep track of this form. Duplicates will incur a charge of $10.00.
2. Complete the upper part (Patient Information portion) of the lactation visit receipt and sign the release of information on the right side directly under the Patient Information section. Be sure that the patient matches the diagnosis code. For example, if the diagnosis is “newborn sucking problem,” the patient is the baby. Some companies will reject claims for babies and some for parents. If you’ve made another copy you can file the claim a different way.
3. Parents should mail a copy of the lactation visit receipt with any other forms their insurance company may require to their insurance company. Include a note that you don’t expect to be reimbursed for mileage or other expenses on the super bill (such as nipples shields, etc). Insurance companies often “kick out” a claim because of other fees.
4. Please be sure to keep a copy of your lactation visit receipt, claim forms, referral scripts, etc. for your records and mark on your calendar when the claim was mailed in.
5. If, after 60 days, you have not heard from your insurance company, call them to check on the status of the claim. If you have not heard anything for 60-90 days, you may want to write a letter to your insurance commissioner in your state and send a copy to the insurance company.
6. The top reasons that claims are denied are because it’s not a covered service or the lactation consultant is not a provider on your plan. If it is because the lactation consultant is not a provider on your plan, ask who the lactation consultant provider is. Most likely they will say that they do not have a lactation consultant provider on their plan. Then, you reply that you had a referral to be seen by this lactation consultant by your physician because you were experiencing such and such a problem. Tell them that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies be breastfed for one year and that the AAP recommends mothers and babies be seen by a board certified lactation consultant when breastfeeding difficulties occur. The AAP also recommends that third party insurance reimbursement be made for lactation help.
7. The Affordable Care Act mandates insurance coverage for lactation services. This is the law. It also mandates no co-pays or deductible for lactation services. Know your rights! This post will give you more information about how to talk to your insurance company about this.
8. Don’t stop with NO from the first person you speak to. Request to speak to their supervisor. The squeaky wheel is the wheel that gets oiled. If you want reimbursement, you may have to fight for it. This is how many things that are now covered by third party insurance companies have come to be standard reimbursement.
A formal appeal may be necessary for you to get reimbursed. You will find a sample letter of appeal on my website. There is also a link there for the Washington State Insurance Commissioner. If you have been denied reimbursement for lactation services, he wants to know about it!