WHAT IS A GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE?

Effective January 1, 2022, a ruling went into effect called the "No Surprises Act" which requires practitioners to provider a "Good Faith Estimate" to individuals who are uninsured or utilize self-pay. The Good Faith Estimate (referred to throughout this document as “GFE”) works to show the cost of items and services that are reasonably expected for your health care needs for an item or service, a diagnosis, and a reason for mental health services. The estimate is based on information known at the time the estimate was created. The GFE does not include any unknown or unexpected costs that may arise during treatment. You could be charged more if complications or special circumstances occur and will be provided a new GFE should this occur. If this happens, federal law allows you to dispute (appeal) the bill if you and your provider have not previously talked about the change and you have not been given an updated GFE. 

Under Section 2799B-6 of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), health care providers and health care facilities are required to inform individuals who are not enrolled in a plan or coverage or a Federal health care program, or not seeking to file a claim with their plan or coverage both orally and in writing of their ability, upon request, or at the time of scheduling health care items and services to receive a GFE of expected charges. 

Note: The PHSA and GFE do not currently apply to any individuals who are using insurance benefits, including "out of network benefits” (i.e.., submitting superbills to insurance for reimbursement). 

Disputing charges higher than the estimate

 

Once you get your good faith estimate from your provider or facility, keep it in a safe place so you can compare it to bills you get later. If you are billed for more than this Good Faith Estimate, you have the right to dispute the bill. You may contact the health care provider or facility listed to let them know the billed charges are higher than the Good Faith Estimate. You can ask them to update the bill to match the Good Faith Estimate, ask to negotiate the bill.

If you get the bill and the charges are at least $400 above the good faith estimate, you may be eligible to start a patient-provider dispute. You may also start a dispute resolution process with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If you choose to use the dispute resolution process, you must start the dispute process within 120 calendar days (about 4 months) of the date on the original bill.

There is a $25 fee to use the dispute process. If the agency reviewing your dispute agrees with you, you will have to pay the price on this Good Faith Estimate. If the agency disagrees with you and agrees with the health care provider or facility, you will have to pay the higher amount.

To learn more and get a form to start the process, go to www.cms.gov/nosurprises or call 800-985-3059. For questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate or the dispute process, visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises or call 800-985-3059.