Your Rights Under The "No Surprises Act"
January 02, 2022 in News
by Dr. Jeanne Peterson
Effective January 1, 2022, a ruling went into effect called the "No Surprises Act" which requires practitioners to provide a "Good Faith Estimate" for out-of-network care. Although the Act was targeted towards hospitals where there are often multiple practitioners with different insurance affiliations, independent psychologists and mental health providers must also comply. This notice is designed to inform you of your rights. Please do not hesitate to follow up with your provider if you have any questions about how the information applies to your care.
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 an insurance plan or a Federal health care program, or not seeking to file a claim with their plan, that upon request they are entitled to receive (both orally and in writing) a "Good Faith Estimate" of expected charges. Please note that the PHSA and GFE do not currently apply to clients who are using insurance benefits, including "out of network benefits,” however, we are furnishing this information to all clients so that you may understand your estimated charges in the event that your health insurance expires, or you choose to become a cash pay client.
Good Faith Estimate Disclaimer
A Good Faith Estimate shows the costs of items and services that are reasonably expected for your health care needs for an item or service. The estimate is based on information known at the time the estimate was created. The Good Faith Estimate does not include any unknown or unexpected costs that may arise during treatment, including the addition of new services or increased frequency of services. You could be charged more if complications or special circumstances occur – if so, a new GFE will be generated after you and your clinician discuss your treatment options.
Right to Appeal
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 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, or ask if there is financial assistance available. 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. Once received, keep a copy of your Good Faith Estimate in a safe place as it would be needed in case of a dispute.
We appreciate working with you and invite your questions on how this information may affect your care.