Correct Coding for Oral Appliances for Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (E0486)

Recently questions have arisen about reimbursement for custom fabricated oral appliances coded as E0486 (ORAL DEVICE/APPLIANCE USED TO REDUCE UPPER AIRWAY COLLAPSIBILITY, ADJUSTABLE OR NON-ADJUSTABLE, CUSTOM FABRICATED, INCLUDES FITTING AND ADJUSTMENT). Only oral appliances used for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OAOSA) that meet the durable medical equipment (DME) statutory benefit category requirements are eligible for Medicare reimbursement by the Durable Medical Equipment Medicare Administrative Contractors (DME MACs).

All requirements of the definition must be met before an item can be considered to be DME (CMS IOM 100-2, Ch. 15, §100). Oral devices that do not meet the DME benefit criteria are classified as dental appliances and are not eligible for reimbursement under the DME benefit by the DME MACs.

Since the OAOSA Local Coverage Determination first became effective in January 2011, numerous devices have been submitted to the Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding (PDAC) contractor for inclusion into HCPCS code E0486. Many of these items vary significantly from the characteristics of the predicate product upon which the initial benefit category determination and subsequent HCPCS code were developed. The coding guidelines for OAOSA contained in the Oral Appliances for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Local Coverage Determination related Policy Article describe the requirements that must be met for an OAOSA to be classified as DME and coded as E0486. Based on the wide variety of products that have been submitted for review, the DME MACs are revising the coding guidelines to provide more detailed and specific information to assist with product classification.

Effective July 1, 2012 the coding guidelines for OAOSA items coded as E0486 are revised to state:

A custom fabricated oral appliance (E0486) is one which is individually and uniquely made for a specific patient. It involves taking an impression of the patient’s teeth and making a positive model of plaster or equivalent material. Basic materials are used with the positive model to produce the final product. Custom fabrication requires more than trimming, bending, or making other modifications to a substantially prefabricated item. A custom fabricated oral appliance may include a prefabricated component (e.g., the joint mechanism).

Code E0486 may only be used for custom fabricated mandibular advancement devices. To be coded as E0486, custom fabricated mandibular advancement devices must meet all of the criteria below:

    • Have a fixed mechanical hinge (see below) at the sides, front or palate; and,
    • Be able to protrude the individual beneficiary’s mandible beyond the front teeth when adjusted to maximum protrusion; and,
    • Incorporate a mechanism that allows the mandible to be easily advanced by the beneficiary in increments of one millimeter or less; and,
    • Retain the adjustment setting when removed from the mouth; and,
    • Maintain the adjusted mouth position during sleep; and,
    • Remain fixed in place during sleep so as to prevent dislodging the device; and,
    • Require no return dental visits beyond the initial 90-day fitting and adjustment period to perform ongoing modification and adjustments in order to maintain effectiveness (see below)

A fixed hinge is defined as a mechanical joint containing an inseparable pivot point. Interlocking flanges, tongue and groove mechanisms, hook and loop or hook and eye clasps, elastic straps or bands, etc. (not all-inclusive) do not meet this requirement.

Items that require repeated adjustments and modification beyond the initial 90-day fitting and adjustment period in order to maintain fit and/or effectiveness are not eligible for classification as DME. These items are considered as dental therapies, which are not eligible for reimbursement, by Medicare under the DME benefit. They must not be coded using E0486.

Custom fabricated mandibular advancement devices that do not incorporate all of the criteria above must be coded as A9720.

 Complete CMS document can be found at:

Related posts:

  1. Comparative Effects of Two Oral Appliances on Upper Airway Structure in Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  2. Local Coverage Decision for Oral Appliances for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  3. U.S. Army Sleep Apnea Research Suggests Adjustable Oral Appliances are a Good First-Line Treatment Option

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