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How to Fill SNFABN (Skilled Nursing Facility Advanced Beneficiary Notice of Non-coverage)

The SNFABN provides information to the beneficiary so that he can decide whether or not to get the care that may not be paid for by Medicare and assume financial responsibility. SNFs must use the SNFABN when applicable for SNF Prospective Payment System services (Medicare Part A).  SNFs will continue to use the ABN Form CMS-R-131 when applicable for Medicare Part B items and services.

Medicare requires SNFs to issue the SNFABN to Original Medicare, also called fee-for-service (FFS), beneficiaries prior to providing care that Medicare usually covers, but may not pay for in this instance because the care is: not medically reasonable and necessary; or considered custodial.

Filling the SNFABN

The SNFABN is available for download by selecting the “FFS SNFABN” link from the menu on the webpage https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-General-Information/BNI/index.html The SNFABN is a CMS-approved model notice and should be replicated as closely as possible when used as a mandatory notice.  Failure to use this notice or significant alterations of the SNFABN could result in the notice being invalidated and/or the SNF being held liable for the care in question.

Header

  1. SNF Information:

    The SNF must include the SNF’s name, address, and phone number, at a minimum. A TTY number should be included when necessary to meet a beneficiary’s needs.  Adding the SNF’s email address, additional contact information, and/or corporate logo is optional.

  2. Patient’s Name:

    SNFs must enter the first and last name of the beneficiary receiving the notice, and a middle initial should be entered if there is one of the beneficiary’s Medicare card. The SNFABN will still be valid if there’s a misspelling or missing initial, as long as the beneficiary or their authorized representative recognizes the name listed on the notice.

  3. Identification Number:

    Entering an identification number is optional, and the SNFABN is valid if this space is left blank. SNFs may insert an internal filing number (such as a medical record number) that might help link the notice with a related claim. Medicare numbers (i.e., Health Insurance Claim Numbers) or Social Security numbers must not be listed on the notice.

Body

  1. In the blank that follows: “Beginning on…:

    the SNF enters the date on which the beneficiary may be responsible for paying for care that Medicare isn’t expected to cover.

  2. Care Section:

    In this section, the SNF lists the care that it believes may not or won’t be covered by Medicare. The description must be written in plain language that the beneficiary can understand. The care can be listed as “inpatient stay at this facility,” for example.

  3. Reason Medicare May Not Pay” Section:

    The SNF must give the applicable Medicare coverage guideline(s) and a brief explanation of why the beneficiary’s medical needs or condition do not meet Medicare coverage guidelines. The reason must be sufficient and specific enough to enable the beneficiary to understand why Medicare may deny payment.

Sr. No.

Reason Medicare May Not Pay

1 You need only assistive or supportive care. You don’t require daily skilled care by a professional nurse or therapist. Medicare won’t pay for your stay at this facility unless you require daily skilled care.
2 You don’t require the skilled care on a daily basis. Medicare won’t pay for your stay at this facility unless you need daily skilled care for your medical condition.
3 You need help with repetitive exercises and walking, and you don’t require skilled care. Medicare won’t pay for your stay at this facility unless you need daily skilled care.
  1. Estimated Cost:

    In this section, the SNF enters the estimated cost of the corresponding care that may not be covered by Medicare. The SNF should enter an estimated total cost or a daily, per item, or per service cost estimate. SNFs must make a good faith effort to insert a reasonable cost estimate for the care. The lack of a cost estimate entry on the SNFABN or an amount that is different than the final actual cost charged to the beneficiary does not invalidate the SNFABN. If for some reason the SNF is unable to provide a good faith estimate of projected costs of care at the time of SNFABN delivery, the SNF should indicate in the cost estimate area that no cost estimate is available. This should not be a routine or frequent practice but allows timely issuance of the SNFABN during rare instances when a cost estimate is not available.

Option Boxes

There are 3 options listed on the SNFABN with corresponding checkboxes. The beneficiary must check only one option box. SNFs are not permitted to select or pre-select an option for the beneficiary as this invalidates the notice.

  • Option 1:

    I want the care listed above. When the beneficiary selects Option 1, the care is provided, and the SNF must submit a claim to Medicare. The SNF must notify the beneficiary when the claim is submitted. This will result in a payment decision, and if Medicare denies payment, the decision can be appealed. SNFs aren’t permitted to collect money for Part A services until Medicare makes an official payment decision on the claim. Beneficiaries who need an official Medicare decision (Medicare denial) for a secondary insurance claim should choose Option 1.

  • Option 2:

    I want the care listed above, but don’t bill Medicare. When the beneficiary selects Option 2, the care is provided, and the beneficiary pays for it out-of-pocket. The SNF does not submit a claim to Medicare.  Since there is no Medicare claim, the beneficiary has no appeal rights.  Although Option 2 indicates that Medicare will not be billed, SNFs must still adhere to the Medicare requirements for submitting no pay bills. See Chapter 6 of the Medicare Claims Processing Manual for SNF claim submission guidance.

  • Option 3:

    I don’t want the care listed above. When the beneficiary selects Option 3, the care is not provided, and there is no charge to the beneficiary. Since no care is given, the SNF doesn’t submit a claim, and there are no appeal rights.

 Additional Information

SNFs may use this space to clarify and/or provide any additional information they think might be helpful to the beneficiary.  Information in this section will be assumed to have been made on the same date the SNFABN is issued. If the notes are made on different dates, include those dates in the notes. For example, SNFs may use this space to include:

  • information on other insurance coverage, such as a Medigap policy, if applicable;
  • an additional dated witness signature; or
  • other necessary notes.

Signature and Date

The beneficiary or their authorized representative must sign the signature box to acknowledge that they read and understood the notice. If the beneficiary refuses to choose an option and/or refuses to sign the SNFABN when required, the SNF should annotate the original copy of the SNFABN indicating the refusal to sign and may list a witness to the refusal. The SNF should consider not furnishing the care.

(Reference: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-General-Information/BNI/Downloads/SNFABN-Instructionsv508_CLEAN-111517.docx)

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