BCBSIL Delays September 1 Implementation Date


BCBSIL Delays September 1 Implementation Date for Billing Changes for Services Provided by Massage Therapists

The ICS has previously relayed information published in the May 2014 and June 2014 editions of the Blue Review regarding billing for services rendered by licensed massage therapists in the physician office.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) announced upcoming policy changes that would:  1) require licensed massage therapists to obtain an NPI and bill all services to BCBSIL under the massage therapist’s NPI, rather than under the supervising provider’s NPI; and 2) that a “reimbursement differential” would apply to services rendered by a licensed massage therapist.

Pending Inquiries

In its most recent publication, BCBSIL had announced an implementation date of September 1, 2014, for these changes; that is, the policy was to be applied to services rendered on or after September 1, 2014.  Following the announced policy change, the ICS made two formal inquiries to BCBSIL in which we expressed various concerns about the new policy.  The inquiries are still pending, and the ICS has been advised that they are being reviewed at this time.  As a result, a senior manager at BCBSIL has advised ICS Health Service Delivery Chairman Richard Dietzen, D.C. (ICS’ liaison to BCBSIL), that BCBSIL has delayed the September 1, 2014 implementation date for the policy changes.  


BCBSIL has not provided further details at this time; however, the ICS is confident that ICS members may rely on the implementation delay until further notice.   We, therefore, do not believe providers must change billing procedures for licensed massage therapists on September 1.  However, we expect that BCBSIL will remain in contact with Dr. Dietzen and the ICS and keep us apprised on this issue.

Finally, the ICS has experienced a large volume of phone calls regarding this matter and would like to assure members that all of the information we have is included in this alert.  The ICS shares its members’ desire for information and will provide an immediate e-mail update as soon as it is available.  We appreciate your understanding and patience, and we will continue to work diligently to obtain information and advocate for the profession and your patients.

About Author

Marc Abla, CAE

Marc Abla began working at the Illinois Chiropractic Society in 2002 and became the Executive Director in 2008. He brings his extensive financial, administrative and association experience to the ICS. He is a Certified Association Executive and a graduate of the Certified Leadership Series through the Illinois Society of Association Executives. Additionally, he is a member of the Illinois Society of Association Executives, the American Society of Association Executives, Association Forum, Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, and the American Chiropractic Association.


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