How To Look Up CPT Codes for FREE — 7 Steps!

In our previous post, “What Are CPT Codes and Why Are They Important“, we talked about the significance and meaning of CPT codes. We also reviewed some examples as well as give you resources of medical coding books if you need one as CPT codes are being updated manually. Now, in today’s article, we will answer a follow up question about CPT codes: “How To Look Up CPT codes for FREE”. (Personally, we use Find-A-Code for looking up CPT Codes, but this method will allow you to lookup 5 CPT codes per day.)

You need to remember that:

A CPT code is a five digit alphanumeric code with no decimal marks and most CPT codes consist of 5 numbers. Some are used frequently like 99213 or 99214 (for general check ups) while some CPT codes may have a letter at the end of them, using 4 numbers and one letter.

While there maybe available resources to look up CPT codes, it may not be for free at all. Some may just provide an overview of the code. Lucky enough, the American Medical Association (AMA), does offer us an easy way to look up one code at a time, for FREE. It may be a tedious task but worth the wait!

Free CPT Code Lookup Video
YouTube video

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to look up CPT codes for free:

Step #1: Go to AMA website and Create an Account

Step #2: There you will find an End-User License Agreement. In essence it tells you that you may look up these codes only for your personal information and that you cannot sell them to anyone else. Further, it tells you that if they think you are using the system too much, they may limit your searches and/or limit the number of CPT codes you look up at one time. There is additional legalese which you should probably read. You can also print the agreement.

Step #3:  Click on AGREE. This will allow you access to the code lookup. If you click on DECLINE, you will not be allowed access to the code lookup.

Step #4:  Once you click on “AGREE”, it will take you to the next page which is your search page.

Step #5: Choose your state and city.

Step #6: If you already have the CPT code and want to see what it means: Simply input the 5-digit CPT code to the field, hit SUBMIT, and you’ll get your result on the next page. Included in the search results is the Medicare payment information.

Step 7: If you do not have the CPT code, but you know what the procedure or service was, you can do a search to try to figure out the right code. This can get tricky, though. Hint: Try using the term you would use to describe the procedure or service. For example, you can use “hysterectomy” and you’ll get a handful of results.

When you do a CPT lookup, you can learn four things:

  1. You can use a CPT code to find out what service or procedure it represents.
  2. You can use a service or procedure to look up the CPT codes that might apply.
  3. You can find out how much Medicare pays a doctor and a facility in your area for that service or procedure (based on the RVU).
  4. You can find out the average amount paid across the United States for that code.

January 2021 Update: The CPT Lookup Tool now limits you to 5 code lookups per day! But it still works.


 Happy CPT code hunting!

Related CPT Codes Posts:

How To Look Up CPT Codes for FREE — 7 Steps!

16 thoughts on “How To Look Up CPT Codes for FREE — 7 Steps!”

  1. Update from November 2020
    This page is still a high google search result for “How to Lookup CPT”

    AMA still offers free account and CPT lookup. However it has since been restricted to 5 CPT search results per day. Likely to encourage physicians and users to purchase yearly updated CPT books.

  2. I joined (for free) the AMA site and searched for the end user agreement/ CPT code list/ Code manager and others and there is NO link available to look up CPT codes

    • I just followed the instructions on this blog post, signed up and tested it. It works fine but there is a 5 lookup limit per day. Read again and carefully follow the instructions in the article.

  3. The site may have changed its rules again. There seems to be no free option available. Can you confirm that it is still possible to get five look ups a day?
    After creating my account, it asks me for more information and to choose whichSubscription package I want. There is no free option apparently.

  4. Actually found it under “CPT code relative value search” at the bottom of the left panel.
    All the other search links above that one lead to the requirement of payment.
    Maybe include this information in your next update.
    Thank you.


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