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How do you look up medical billing codes?

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Quick Answer

To interpret CPT medical billing codes, people outside the medical profession can consult the American Medical Association's official website, suggests About.com. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides a search for ICD-9 codes and a complete list of HCPCS codes on its official website, according to the CMS.

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Full Answer

The AMA website allows users to type in the five-digit CPT code to find out the code's meaning, notes About.com. Individuals can also use the site to search for the proper CPT code for specific services and procedures. The AMA also includes the relative value amount with the CPT code. Medical billers use the RVU multiplied by the average amount charged for each procedure to determine how much Medicare will pay for a provider's services.

People interested in the finding the correct ICD-9 code can use the CMS website to search by symptoms, diagnoses or procedures. On Oct. 1, 2015, medical coders begin using the ICD-10 instead of the ICD-9, according to Healthcare IT News.

The CMS provides zip files of the complete Level II alphanumeric HCPCS modifier and procedure codes. There is also a separate file for prescription drug codes. As of June 2015, the official site includes the information for 2013 through 2015, according to the CMS.

FairHealthConsumer.org offers a comprehensive search tool that allows users to look up the codes for a service by choosing from a list of common procedures, such as an ambulance ride or a laboratory test. FindACode.com offers a simple search box that supports keywords for procedure names or descriptions, as well as medical codes for finding the matching procedure. However, certain features are only available through a subscription.

PGMBilling.com also offers a search tool that supports partial keywords as well as CPT codes, which stands for Current Procedural Terminology and represents a collection of terms from the American Medical Association. AMA-Assn.org has a similar tool, with both sites requiring users to choose a single state to conduct a search. Many health insurance providers also offer customers member handbooks, which often contain codes and descriptions for common procedures within the state of issuance. This information may also be available through the insurance company's support staff.

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