Handling Incomplete or Invalid Submissions - Medicare claim tips

The following provides additional information detailing submissions that are considered incomplete or invalid.

The matrix in Chapter 25 specifies whether a data element is required, not required, or conditional. (See definitions in §70.2 above.) The status of these data elements will affect whether or not an incomplete or invalid submission (hardcopy or electronic) will be returned to provider (RTP). FIs should not deny claims and afford appeal rights for incomplete or invalid information as specified in this instruction. (See §80.3.1 for Definitions.)

The FIs should take the following actions upon receipt of incomplete or invalid submissions:
• If a required data element is not accurately entered in the appropriate field, RTP the submission to the provider of service.

• If a not required data element is accurately or inaccurately entered in the appropriate field, but the required data elements are entered accurately and appropriately, process the submission.

• If a conditional data element (a data element which is required when certain conditions exist) is not accurately entered in the appropriate field, RTP the submission to the provider of service.

• If a submission is RTP for incomplete or invalid information, at a minimum, notify the provider of service of the following information:
o Beneficiary’s Name;
o Health Insurance Claim (HIC) Number;
o Statement Covers Period (From-Through);
o Patient Control Number (only if submitted);
o Medical Record Number (only if submitted); and
o Explanation of Errors.

NOTE: Some of the information listed above may in fact be the information missing from the submission. If this occurs, the FI includes what is available.

• If a submission is RTP for incomplete or invalid information, the FI shall not report the submission on the MSN to the beneficiary. The notice must only be given to the provider or supplier.

The matrix in Chapter 25 specifies data elements that are required, not required, and conditional. These standard data elements are minimal requirements. A crosswalk is provided to relate CMS-1450 (UB-04) form locators used on paper submissions with loops and data elements on the ANSI X12N 837 I used for electronic submissions.
The matrix does not specify loop and data element content and size. Refer to the implementation guide for the current HIPAA standard version of the 837I for these specifications. If a claim fails edits for any one of these content or size requirements, the FI will RTP the submission to the provider of service.

NOTE: The data element requirements in the matrix may be superceded by subsequent CMS instructions. The CMS is continuously revising instructions to accommodate new data element requirements. The matrix will be updated as frequently as annually to reflect revisions to other sections of the manual.

The FIs must provide a copy of the matrix listing the data element requirements, and attach a brief explanation to providers and suppliers. FIs must educate providers regarding the distinction between submissions which are not considered claims, but which are returned to provider (RTP) and submissions which are accepted by Medicare as claims for processing but are not paid. Claims may be accepted as filed by Medicare systems but may be rejected or denied. Unlike RTPs, rejections and denials are reflected on RAs. Denials are subject to appeal, since a denial is a payment determination. Rejections may be corrected and re-submitted.

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