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What Are CPT Codes?

what does what makes you tick mean

By Trisha Torrey. Patient Empowerment Expert

Updated November 25, 2014.

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Examples of CPT Codes:

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  • 90658 indicates a flu shot
  • 90716 may be used for chicken pox vaccine (varicella)
  • 12002 may be used to stitch up a one-inch cut on a patient's arm

Some CPT codes are bundled;  that is, they are used in combination with each other so they actually describe a number of aspects of care.  You can learn more about bundled medical codes here .

If you use Medicare, you'll see CPT codes, but used a bit differently. Medicare uses HCPCS codes (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System ) which are an adjusted form of CPT code.

Matching CPT Codes to the Services They Represent

As patients, our interest in these codes is usually related to our doctors' and insurance billings. Until recently it was difficult to find out what certain CPT codes

meant without contacting your insurance company or doctor's office.

You won't find a freely-available comprehensive list of CPT codes, because the AMA controls their publication. Groups that have tried to make them available for free to the public have been cited for violations, fined by the AMA and have been forced to remove them from the Internet. Since the AMA developed and copyrights the system, it has a right to make sure access to these lists is paid for. It licenses CPT code lists to groups who wish to publish the codes to make them available to others. Those groups then charge a fee for access, too.

We patients don't have the large sums of money needed to subscribe to websites or purchase publications that list CPT codes. To make them more accessible to us, the AMA does provide on its website a means for looking up the individual CPT codes you might find on your doctor's bills or EOBs (estimates of benefits).

Category: Forex

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