1-Minute Pro Tip: How to Handle Claim Denials from Private Insurance Companies

Before challenging a claim, examine the reason for your denial. The reason for the payer’s denial can be found on the Explanation of Benefits or EOB. In some cases, the denial may have been caused by a clerical error such as an incorrect CPT code, a missing signature, or another simple oversight.

Before challenging a claim, examine the reason for your denial. The reason for the payer’s denial can be found on the Explanation of Benefits or EOB. In some cases, the denial may have been caused by a clerical error such as an incorrect CPT code, a missing signature, or another simple oversight.


A denial of coverage because a PA performed the service is usually phrased as “service only covered when provided by an M.D. or D.O.” or “physician assistants not considered authorized providers under the plan.” In some cases, first assisting at surgery claims are denied for incorrect use of modifier codes (Do not assume that all companies use the same code; some use -AS, some use -80, -81, or -82.) and in other cases, those claims are denied because of the use of a restricted code or for performing a surgery not necessarily requiring a first assistant.


You may need to contact the insurance company to find out what modifier should have been used and, in some cases, you may need documentation that a first assistant was medically necessary for the surgery. Insurance companies strive to (1) retain their subscribers, (2) maintain or increase their market share, and (3) keep a positive corporate image. If the insurance company made the coverage decision and you believe that the coverage decision was unfair, enlist the help of the patient and, if applicable, the business that pays the insurance plan’s premium. Their dissatisfaction is

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