Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning

AAFP Webcast: Advance Care Planning

Learn how to implement this Medicare-payable service to position your practice for success in value-based payment models and improve your patients' quality of life and satisfaction.

Advance Care Planning Patient Handout

Download this handout to support conversations with your patients about advance care planning.

Download patient handout»(119 KB PDF)

What is Medicare Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

Advance care planning (ACP) is the face-to-face time a physician or other qualified health care professional spends with a patient, family member, or surrogate to explain and discuss advance directives.

ACP Coding

The two CPT codes used to report ACP services are:

  • 99497 First 30 minutes (minimum of 16 minutes)
  • 99498 Add-on for additional 30 minutes

Requirements and Components for ACP

Advance care planning services should not be reported on the same date of service as critical care services (i.e., CPT codes 99291 and 99292), neonatal and pediatric critical care codes, and some intensive hospital care services.

Requirements for CPT Code 99497:

  • Advance care planning, including the explanation and discussion of advance directives such as standard forms (with completion of such forms, when performed)
  • Provided by the physician or other qualified health care professional
  • First 30 minutes face-to-face with the patient, family member(s), and/or surrogate (minimum of 16 minutes documented)
  • As stated in the CPT code description, completion of an advance directive is only required “when performed.” It is not an overall requirement for billing ACP services.

Requirements for CPT Code 99498 (Add on code):

  • Each additional 30 minutes face-to-face with the patient, family member(s), and/or surrogate (minimum of 16 minutes past the first 30 minutes documented)
  • Listed separately in addition to code for primary procedure

Health Care Professionals Who May Furnish and Bill ACP:

  • Physicians (any specialty)
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse practitioners (NPs)
  • Physician assistants (PAs)

Non-physicians must legally be authorized and qualified to provide ACP in the state in which the services are furnished.


Getting Paid for End-of-Life Planning Conversations

Discussing end-of-life decisions with your patients and their families can be difficult and uncomfortable, but as a patient's primary care physician, family physicians are ideally suited to facilitate this conversation. Learn more about how to get paid for this service.


The AAFP’s Position on ACP

The AAFP’s advocacy efforts helped pave the way for ACP payment. We supported the creation of CPT codes for ACP and applauded their inclusion in the 2016 Medicare physician fee schedule. Medicare payment for ACP gives family physicians an opportunity to be paid for the time they commit to conversations with their patients about end-of-life decisions.

On behalf of its members, the AAFP advocates for full and fair payment of care management services with private payers through monthly care management fees. We are also pushing private payers to make care management programs transparent to both physicians and patients.

What You Need to Know

All traditional Medicare beneficiaries qualify for ACP services. You may determine that it is important to have conversations about end-of-life decisions with your patients and/or their caregivers annually, or when a patient has a medical change in status. The patient has no out-of-pocket responsibility for ACP that takes place during his or her Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV). However, if ACP services are provided under any other circumstances, Medicare coinsurance and deductibles apply.

Medicare Advantage and other insurance payers may pay for ACP. You should confirm a patient’s coverage before you provide these services. It is also important to remember that if a payer does pay for CPT codes 99497 and 99498, these services are subject to the insurance carrier’s billing policies, like all other covered services.

*Per Cigna’s ACP policy, CPT codes 99497 and 99498 are only paid when a patient is terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less.

Approaches to Help Your Practice Get Started

  • Identify patients and families who would qualify for ACP services
  • Start with patients scheduled for AWV (no patient copay if offered with AWV)