Phone and Online Service Codes on Your Medical Bill

If You Find These Codes on Your Bill, You'll Know What They Are

Doctor reviewing medical record with senior patient
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Understanding your medical bills can be quite complicated. Each line item will have a CPT or HCPCS code for the services you're being billed for. These include billing codes for phone or online consultations with your doctor's office, which is often called 'telemedicine' or 'telehealth.'

As a patient, you might want to know the CPT phone codes or those that apply to online medical services. Let's look at those codes and what they mean so you can take one more step in understanding your health care costs.

CPT Phone Codes on Your Medical Bill

The American Medical Association (AMA) standardizes Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for medical billing. For Medicare patients, these are known as Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes. Every procedure, service, and charge you receive from a medical provider uses these codes.

If you take advantage of your doctor's phone or online services for consultations, these are billable services and there are codes associated with them. Just because these codes are now available to doctors for service reimbursement doesn't mean your insurer will pay for them, however. You may be billed for this time.​

If you find any of the following CPT or HCPCS codes on a medical bill or an Estimate of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance provider or another payer, it means the bill is intended to cover either phone time or email time. These are called "Non-Face-to-Face-Services."

Physician Telephone Services

These codes refer to phone conversations with your actual doctor. They are billed in time increments from five minutes to a half an hour. 

  • 99441 phone call 5 to 10 minutes of medical discussion
  • 99442 phone call 11 to 20 minutes of medical discussion
  • 99443 phone call 21 to 30 minutes of medical discussion

    Non-Physician Healthcare Provider Telephone Services

    If you have a consultation with a nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, these are categorized under the label 'physician extenders.' It is likely that your bill will be less for these phone conversations than if you were to speak directly to your doctor.

    • 98966 phone call 5 to 10 minutes of medical discussion
    • 98967 phone call 11 to 20 minutes of medical discussion
    • 98968 phone call 21 to 30 minutes of medical discussion

    Online Medical Services

    Many doctors, clinics, and hospitals also offer email or another type of online service to patients. No matter the format, these are also billable services and the AMA designates them with two codes: one for your doctor and the other for a physician extender.

    • 99444 Email or some other online service to discuss a medical problem with a physician.
    • 98969 Email or some other online service to discuss a medical problem with a physician extender.

    How Can Knowing CPT Codes Help You?

    As an empowered patient, you can take a little more control of your health care if you know how the system and the medical billing process works. To really understand your bills, you can learn more about the rules for using these CPT phone codes.

    These include who originated the call or email, when it was made, and, possibly, the outcome of the contact.

    If you have questions about the bill and you know how these codes are used, you can then contact your doctor's office to discuss them.

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