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  • Durable Medical Equipment > Overview

    This chapter describes our policies for the prescription of durable medical equipment (DME). DME coverage is subject to the Member’s benefit plan. Members may be responsible for paying a portion of the DME’s cost in the form of a copay/coinsurance and/or deductible. The DME vendor will notify the member when copays/coinsurance and/or deductibles are due.

    Prior Approval/Pre-Certification may be needed before certain services can be rendered or equipment supplied. Who evaluates the Prior Approval/Pre-Certification request depends on which networks the members access and who has financial risk for their care.

    Because of changes starting in 2018, this chapter has been restructured. To find the applicable policy, first look for the section that applies to the member’s network. Then, look for the time period the rules apply to.

    With minor exceptions, the lists of included or excluded services apply to all members. Please select the table for the applicable date of service to see whether Prior Approval/Pre-Certification was/is needed.

    Starting on January 1, 2018, seven (7) new codes in the E category “durable medical equipment” and one hundred and six (106) new codes in the L category “orthotic and prosthetic procedure, devices” will require prior approval/pre-certification for all EmblemHealth members. See table Durable Medical Equipment Will Require Prior Approval/Pre-Certification.

    Customized DME Defined
    Any prosthetic, orthotic or equipment that must be designed and built to meet the specific needs of a patient (e.g., power wheelchairs, braces, prosthetic limbs). Please note that mastectomy supplies (HCPCS codes L8000, L8001, L8010 and L8030) do not require prior approval.

    Rental DME Defined
    Any equipment intended for short-term home use (e.g., oxygen and its delivery devices, hospital beds, wheelchairs and scooters). In general, Medicare coverage rules apply.

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    Glossary terms found on this page:

    A health insurance product offered by a health plan company that is defined by the benefit contract and represents a set of covered services. Also called a health benefit plan.

    A process in which an individual, an institution or educational program is evaluated and recognized as meeting certain predetermined standards. Certification usually applies to individuals; accreditation usually applies to institutions.

    A percentage of the allowed charge that is payable by the member, not EmblemHealth, for covered services rendered by an out-of-network provider. After the member has met his or her deductible, EmblemHealth will pay a percentage of the allowed charge for those covered services in accordance with the member's benefit program. The member is responsible to pay the remaining percentage of the allowed charge. This remaining percentage is the coinsurance charge.

    The fixed dollar amount members must pay for certain covered services. It is generally paid to a network provider at the time the service is rendered.

    The date on which a service was rendered.

    A portion of eligible expenses that an individual or family must pay during a calendar year before EmblemHealth will begin to pay benefits for covered services.

    Medical equipment, goods, implements and prosthetics that are prescribed for patient care, usually in an outpatient setting. Examples of such equipment include hospital beds, wheelchairs and walkers.

    Medical equipment, goods, implements and prosthetics that are prescribed for patient care, usually in an outpatient setting. Examples of such equipment include hospital beds, wheelchairs and walkers.

    An institution which provides inpatient services under the supervision of a physician, and meets the following requirements:

    • Provides diagnostic and therapeutic services for medical diagnosis, treatment and care of injured and sick persons and has, as a minimum, laboratory and radiology services and organized departments of medicine and surgery
    • Has an organized medical staff which may include, in addition to doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy and dentistry
    • Has bylaws, rules and regulations pertaining to standards of medical care and service rendered by its medical staff
    • Maintains medical records for all patients
    • Has a requirement that every patient be under the care of a member of the medical staff
    • Provides 24-hour patient services
    • Has in effect agreements with a home health agency for referral and transfer of patients to home health agency care when such service is appropriate to meet the patient's requirements

    Acronym for Medicare Advantage. An alternative to the traditional Medicare program in which private plans run by health insurance companies provide health care benefits that eligible beneficiaries would otherwise receive directly from the Medicare program.

    A nationwide insurance program for the disabled and people age 65 and over, created by the 1965 amendments to the Social Security Act and operated under the provisions of the Act. It consists of two separate but coordinated programs, Part A and Part B.

    An individual and each of his or her eligible dependents, including Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled or participate in a benefit program and who are entitled to receive covered services from the practitioner pursuant to such benefit program and the terms of the practitioner's agreement.

    The group of physicians, hospital, and other medical care providers that a specific plan has contracted with to deliver medical services to its members.

    A written order or refill notice issued by a licensed medical professional for drugs available only through a pharmacy.

    The process of obtaining advanced approval of coverage for a health care service or medication. The request for services is reviewed to assess medical necessity and appropriateness of elective hospital admissions and non-emergency outpatient services before the services are provided. Also called pre-authorization or pre-certification or pre-determination.


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