CPT Code 90832: The Definitive Guide

CPT Code 90832 is a CPT code for licensed behavioral health providers. It is used to bill insurance for a 30 minute individual psychotherapy session and is considered a routine outpatient appointment. It’s frequently billed by Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT), clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. Appointments billed as 90832 may also include an additional family member or caregiver.

How Long are Sessions? What’s the Difference between  90834/90837?

Procedure code 90832 is defined as a session of 30 minutes. The only difference between 90832 (the other commonly used CPT code) and 90834 or 90837 is the time of the psychotherapy session. Not every therapist does sessions at these exact time intervals. So what about sessions in between, say 35 minutes. Which CPT code would apply?

  • 90832 should be billed for sessions between 16-37 minutes.
  • 90834 should be billed for sessions between 38-52 minutes.
  • 90837 should be billed for sessions 53 minutes or longer.

Can I Bill CPT Code 90832 + 99354 for Longer Sessions?

We recommend you follow the above guidelines and when the session is longer, bill 90834 or 90837. Sessions that are longer should be billed as 90837 with add-on code(s). Read more about billing longer sessions in our Definitive Guide to 90837.

Does it Require Authorization?

Not typically.. 90832 is considered a routine procedure codes (90834 and 90837 are too). As a result, it does not normally require authorization. However, there are some exceptions. If you bill with us we can also call on your behalf to find out.

How is CPT Code 90832 Reimbursement?

90832 nearly always reimburses less than 90834 and 90837, but similar per unit of time. This is usually around 75% of the 90834 reimbursement rate and around 50% of 90837. Most providers find it works better for them to do fewer, but longer sessions, although some do opt for a higher number of shorter sessions.

Is 90832 Billed Frequently?

No it isn’t. Most therapists typically have longer sessions than 30 minutes. In our experience as billers for mental health professionals, 90834 and 90837 are billed far more frequently than 90832.

Does Medicare Approve this Procedure Code?

Yes, Medicare considers this routine. If you are an approved Medicare provider you can bill this code.

What About Medicaid?

Generally, yes. Medicaid companies do often have a lot of requirements that vary by state and company. We strongly recommend calling beforehand. This is where a professional billing service, such as TheraThink can help.

Where Does The Procedure Code Go On A Claim

Just like other CPT codes, it should go in the 24(c) location of a CMS 1500.


90832 on CMS 1500.

Applicable Add-On Codes to 90832

For providers eligible to bill E/M (Evaluation & Management) services, they can bill 90833 with 90832. There are  informative webinars by the AACAP on E/M codes. Each of the routine psychotherapy codes has an add-on E/M code.

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