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Medicare Shoe Coverage – Diabetic Shoes (A Codes) vs. Orthopedic Shoes (L Codes)

Posted by Billy Kanter, CPED on Dec 2, 2021 12:21:57 PM
Billy Kanter, CPED
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CGS recently released some updates to the coverage provisions for those beneficiaries of shoes, inserts, and shoe modifications for those patients that require therapeutic shoes, but also have bracing needs as well.

Let’s take a look at some of the basics associated with the correct coding with these revisions.


  • the benefit category for therapeutic shoes provisioned in the treatment of a diabetes-related condition(s) or
  • the benefit category for leg braces (to which the shoes and related items would be considered for coverage as integral components of the leg brace).

Essentially this is defining the two types of beneficiaries. Most of the time the billing is associated with one type of beneficiary, however, there are cases when a single person may qualify in both categories.

To break this down a bit more:

The coding of the products for claims submitted for Medicare reimbursement depend upon the benefit category. Therefore, this publication serves as a reminder to suppliers, regarding the correct coding of products that may qualify for coverage under one of these two benefits.

Social Security Act (SSA) section (§)1861(s)(12) describes coverage for, "extra-depth shoes with inserts or custom molded shoes with inserts for an individual with diabetes" when certain specified requirements are met. Reimbursement is available for shoes used by beneficiaries with diabetes when the applicable coverage requirements are met. The Therapeutic Shoes for Persons with Diabetes Local Coverage Determination (LCD)

In addition to therapeutic shoes provisioned in the management an individual's diabetes-related condition(s), payment may be possible for shoes, inserts, and shoe modifications that are an integral component of a brace (42 CFR §411.15(f)).

Orthopedic shoes and other supportive devices for the feet generally are not covered. However, this exclusion does not apply to such a shoe if it is an integral part of a leg brace, and its expense is included as part of the cost of the brace.

Furthermore, SSA §1862(a)(13) specifically excludes treatment and devices for flat feet, subluxations of the foot, and routine foot care.



Shoes, inserts, and shoe modifications that are an integral component of a leg brace are referred to as orthopedic footwear (ORF). These shoes, inserts, and shoe modifications are only covered if they are an integral part of a covered leg brace that is described by HCPCS code L1900, L1920, L1980, L1990, L2000, L2005, L2010, L2020, L2030, L2050, L2060, L2080, or L2090. In addition to being an integral component of the covered leg brace, these products must also be medically necessary for the proper functioning of the leg brace. When billing for ORF, the leg brace and ORF must be billed by the same supplier.

The use of shoes, inserts or shoe modifications (L3000, L3001, L3002, L3003, L3010, L3020, L3030, L3031, L3040, L3050, L3060, L3070, L3080, L3090, L3100, L3140, L3150, L3160, L3170, L3201, L3202, L3203, L3204, L3206, L3207, L3208, L3209, L3211, L3212, L3213, L3214, L3215, L3216, L3217, L3219, L3221, L3222, L3224, L3225, L3230, L3250, L3251, L3252, L3253, L3254, L3255, L3257, L3260, L3265, L3300, L3310, L3320, L3330, L3332, L3334, L3340, L3350, L3360, L3370, L3380, L3390, L3400, L3410, L3420, L3430, L3440, L3450, L3455, L3460, L3465, L3470, L3480, L3485, L3500, L3510, L3520, L3530, L3540, L3550, L3560, L3570, L3580, L3590, L3595, L3600, L3610, L3620, L3630, L3640, and L3649) must not be used on braces that fit inside a shoe. This is considered incorrect coding and is statutorily non-covered by Medicare.

However, there are situations where a beneficiary may qualify for both a diabetic shoe and a leg brace.


What Does This All Mean?

This means that the supplier of the therapeutic shoes provisioned in the treatment of a diabetes-related condition may bill separately for such shoes, while a different supplier may bill for the associated brace.

Different sets of Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes are used to identify the shoes, modifications, and inserts that may be eligible for payment. The determination as to which HCPCS code(s) must be utilized depends on the benefit category within which the shoes, modifications, and inserts qualify for coverage. Suppliers must be sure to use the correct codes for each group of products. Only HCPCS A-codes are used for shoes and related items provisioned in the treatment of an individual's diabetes-related condition(s). Only L-codes are used for ORF.

Transferring or otherwise attaching a therapeutic shoe (that is provisioned in the treatment of the diabetes-related condition) to a brace is not considered a modification to the therapeutic shoe. HCPCS code A5507 must not be used to bill for this service (see the medical policy on Therapeutic Shoes for Persons with Diabetes for details).

The use of shoes, inserts, or shoe modifications are noncovered when they are put on over a partial foot prosthesis or other lower extremity prosthesis (L5010, L5020, L5050, L5060, L5100, L5105, L5150, L5160, L5200, L5210, L5220, L5230, L5250, L5270, L5280, L5301, L5312, L5321, L5331, L5341, L5400, L5410, L5420, L5430, L5450, L5460, L5500, L5505, L5510, L5520, L5530, L5535, L5540, L5560, L5570, L5580, L5585, L5590, L5595, and L5600) which is attached to the residual limb by other mechanisms because there is no Medicare benefit for these items.

There are no other categories of orthopedic footwear that are eligible for Medicare reimbursement.


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