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What are "Good Faith Estimates"?

You may have seen or heard of “Good Faith Estimates”, you may have already received one from your therapist or counselor. But what is it and what does it mean for your counseling services?

“Good Faith Estimates” arouse out of a new law called the “No Surprise Act”, which tries to help prevent clients receiving massive, unexpected medical bill. This law does not impact you if you are using your insurance benefits with an in-network counselor. If you are self-paying for counseling or using your out of network benefits (submitting a superbill to your insurance company) then this law applies.

In these situations, your counselor or therapist will provide you a “Good Faith Estimate” of services when starting or continuing counseling. But since many counseling and therapy services are ongoing this can be difficult to estimate since we don’t have a way to predict how your therapy will go. Also, your counselor should be respecting your right to decide how often you want to meet, what goals you are working towards, etc, which makes creating a concrete estimate even more difficult.

With all this in mind, you should receive in writing a “Good Faith Estimate” as well as your rights to receive a “Good Faith Estimate” from your provider that outline the potential cost of reoccurring charges for your therapy. If you don’t receive one and you are in a self-pay or out of network billing situation, then you have the right to request one from your provider and have them explain the possible expected charges.

Ultimately, counseling should not increase your distress by being a financial burden so knowing what reoccurring charges to expect beforehand can help alleviate your concerns before starting services. If you have more questions about this, contact your counselor or the office your counselor works at so you can be informed about the financial aspect of your therapy.

This is not legal advice as should be read as educational material to help inform you of your rights as a client in these situations. Please contact a lawyer or your counseling office if you have any questions about the information discussed here.

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