When a specific code is not readily available for a medical service or operation, CPT 99199, an unlisted exceptional service, procedure, or report code, is utilized. Medical coders and billers use this code to report additional medical services or procedures not covered by any current and accepted CPT codes. Before billing for an unlisted procedure, confirming that the required documentation has been completed by speaking with the provider is imperative.

As we proceed, we’ll discuss the description, which indicates eligibility, proper usage, documentation specifications, billing policies, comparable codes, and a few examples of CPT code 99199 operations. So, let’s begin now!

What does the CPT Code 99199 mean?

For reporting treatments, services, and supplies that aren’t covered by the relevant CPT codes, use the multipurpose healthcare service code 99199. Medical practitioners primarily use it to describe uncommon or distinctive operations that don’t fit into regular CPT codes. It is often allocated for experimental or infrequently conducted operations.

The 99199 CPT code allows healthcare practitioners to ensure correct billing and reimbursement by documenting the value of their extraordinary or one-of-a-kind services. When implementing this code, providing accurate documentation and a thorough explanation of the steps taken to prevent claim denials or compliance investigations is essential.

Even though it can occasionally seem ambiguous, the code is a valuable tool for healthcare practitioners to properly report goods or services not covered by established CPT codes.

Indicative of eligibility

The particular medical service or operation that is carried out determines whether or not a person is eligible for medical coding services. According to the provider, the service or procedure must be medically required and cannot be categorized under any of the accepted and valid CPT codes. The practitioner has to verify with the payer to see if the patient’s insurance covers the procedure or treatment.

For a more specific approach, it can be separated into the following categories:

Unusual or experimental services

The code can be applied to unusual or experimental services that don’t already have a designated CPT code.

Response to Emergencies

The miscellaneous code 99199 can be used in emergencies where there isn’t enough time to search for a specific code; nonetheless, a thorough diagnostic must be provided.

Investigative Services

The code may be applied to investigative operations that call for billing but lack a specific code.

Unlisted HCPCS

CMS may consider the CPT number 99199 if there isn’t an existing HCPCS code for a specific treatment. In this case, it must be a service that doctors generally provide and a replacement for an already offered service.

Proper usage of 99199 CPT code

When a physician provides a medical treatment or procedure not covered by one of the conventional and current CPT codes, they should use it. Before paying for a system that isn’t on the list, ensuring the required documentation has been completed is crucial. You should not select a code that only roughly describes the service rendered according to CPT criteria. If a particular procedure or service code is unavailable, you should only use the relevant unlisted procedure code to report the service.

Documentation specifications

Submitting a cover letter when reporting a procedure with CPT 99199 is essential to justify the decision not to use a defined, active code. To support the claim amount you are billing, add one or more comparable codes and evaluate your service against them. Include the operational notes and other pertinent paperwork to support the claim and prevent a potential denial. Your payers will individually evaluate unlisted procedure code claims and base their decision on the supporting documentation you submit.

Billing Policies

It is essential to keep the following rules in mind when billing for CPT code 99199:

  • Avoid selecting a code that only approximates the service offered.
  • If no specific procedure or service code is available, report the service using the applicable unlisted procedure code.
  • Report a Category III code instead of an unlisted procedure code when one is available.
  • Include a cover letter outlining your decision to use the unlisted code instead of a defined, active code.
  • To support the claim amount you are billing, add one or more comparable codes and evaluate your service against them.
  • Include the operative notes and additional pertinent paperwork to support the claim and prevent a potential denial.

Similar Codes to CPT 99199

Although there are no identical equivalents to CPT 99199, the following codes are comparable in that they are unlisted codes for a range of services and procedures as well:

CPT 99429: Unauthorized preventative medicine service

CPT 99499: Unauthorized evaluation and management service

CPT 96999: Specific dermatological operation or service that is not listed

CPT 93799: Cardiovascular operation or service that is not listed

CPT 94799: Unknown pulmonary services or procedures


Below are ten thorough illustrations of CPT code 99199 procedures:

  1. A clinician performs a sophisticated diagnostic test for a rare condition without a unique CPT code.
  2. A doctor gives an experimental therapy for a chronic illness that isn’t covered by any of the active and accepted CPT codes.
  3. A specialist uses an innovative method that CPT codes must describe to remove a foreign object from a patient’s airway.
  4. A practitioner’s complex wound care procedure entails several steps and methods that aren’t reflected by a unique CPT code.
  5. A doctor delivers a unique therapy for a neurological condition that lacks a precise CPT code.
  6. A specialist conducts a distinctive diagnostic technique that is not covered by any conventional and active CPT codes available to evaluate a patient’s cardiovascular function.
  7. A clinician performs a sophisticated genetic test for a rare inherited condition without a unique CPT code.
  8. A doctor conducts a problematic treatment not covered by CPT codes to correct a congenital abnormality.
  9. A specialist provides a revolutionary treatment for a rare autoimmune condition. However, this treatment still needs to be assigned a CPT code.
  10. An unusual procedure not covered by any of the regular and active CPT codes is carried out by a clinician to treat a patient’s persistent pain.


For extraordinary or one-of-a-kind medical services that lack an associated standardized code, CPT code 99199 is crucial for correctly invoicing and coding. Medical practitioners use it for uncommon or experimental operations, emergency care, investigative procedures, and services not covered by specific CPT codes.

However, it should only be used in extreme cases when no other suitable options are available. Proper documentation and a thorough explanation of the procedures are essential to support the use of this code and prevent claim denials and compliance concerns.

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