CPT® code 87426 reports infectious agent antigen detection by immunoassay technique of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, and it will be a child code under parent code 87301. The two new proprietary laboratory analyses (PLA) codes (0223U and 0224U) are for detection of SARS-CoV-2.
“The new CPT code for antigen testing to detect the coronavirus is the latest in a series of CPT codes developed in rapid response to the pandemic,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in the entire United States on Jan. 31, 2020. President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020.
See “COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Testing” for a list of all the new testing codes, with effective dates and Medicare payment rates.
The Food and Drug Administration says in a May 9 statement that antigen tests are less costly to produce than polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and “are highly accurate.” There is a higher chance of false negatives, however, so negative results from an antigen test may need to be confirmed with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
CPT® Assistant has issued a special edition with advice on SARS-CoV-2 laboratory testing, including antigen testing.