Dangerous intersection ahead (between your services’ quoted and actual fees) — but you can avoid it!
The health and wellness industry consists of medical professionals, coaches, therapists, and more. While they all might seem synonymous, they have specialized roles.
Healthcare workers, for instance, provide immediate care to patients, monitor vitals, and ensure patients aren’t at risk of infections. Therapists are licensed medical practitioners who counsel patients on mental health conditions, helping them develop cognitive skills. And coaches guide clients through challenging situations, support them in achieving short- and long-term goals, and encourage them to face their fears.
While it’s important to never confuse coaching for therapy or medical care — yes, even in the case of mental health or nutrition coaches — these professions overlap.
Therapists and coaches, for example, may both start their relationship with a new client with a service agreement. Medical professionals and coaches likely ask clients to fill out an intake form. A good faith estimate (GFE), traditionally used in healthcare services, is also beneficial to coaches.
“Good faith” is a gesture of transparency toward a client, and “estimate” is a ballpark figure. The document outlines the potential cost of services upfront.
Learn all about a good faith estimate, what to use it for, and how to write a good faith estimate disclaimer.
What is a good faith estimate?
A good faith estimate in healthcare abides by the No Surprises Act. The act ensures patients don’t receive unexpected medical bills and are comfortable signing on to receive care, and medical professionals comply with the stipulations of this law by providing a good faith estimate for uninsured or self-pay patients. Coaches apply the same logic with their clients –– although this law doesn’t directly apply to the coaching field.
Estimates are just that — estimates. A GFE is not a guarantee of how much services will cost, so patients can dispute higher fees.
A coach’s good faith estimate informs clients about services’ costs. Since coaches often set program fees beforehand, this projection is most likely accurate. But, if coaches intend to increase their fees, they must share the right amount in the GFE. Alternatively, should a client want additional services, the good faith estimate provides an essential reference for what was included in the original scope of services.
As a coach, share the most precise projections to avoid disputes. The act enables clients to question the final bill if it’s $400 more than the quoted price in the GFE.
What should a good faith estimate form include?
If you’re ready to design a good faith estimate form for your coaching business, start with the following guidelines, then modify it to reflect your specific services. Be sure to tweak this document for each client. Include:
- The patient's name (client’s name)
- The patient's or client’s date of birth
- A description of services and the number of sessions
- The date range for the provision of services
- Each service’s estimated cost
- A disclaimer explaining that fees are subject to change
Additionally, in the medical world, professionals also often include the following information:
- Treatments and medical workers’ names (who will tend to the patient)
- Diagnosis codes
- Billing codes/service codes
- Supplemental services a patient could need
How to write a good faith estimate disclaimer
A good faith disclaimer doesn’t have to be long. Instead, keep it concise and leverage your coaching contract or services agreement to cover agreed-upon services. The disclaimer should briefly reiterate that you’re providing an estimate, and fees can change. It should also note how you arrived at the estimate and what could happen if a client requires additional services.
Here’s a good faith estimate example disclaimer to guide you:
"The information provided in this estimate does not guarantee the actual cost of services. It’s an informed estimate based on traditional program costs and the services the client would like to receive at the time of this document. Actual costs and services may vary, and the client may elect to add services at an additional cost.”
We hope we cleared the air for you, but if you still have some lingering questions, here are a few common FAQs and answers.
How should a service provider deliver a good faith estimate?
While you can verbally quote services, it’s a great practice to provide a GFE in writing. This ensures transparency between you and your clients and establishes trust.
For medical professionals, this document is a part of the patient’s medical record.
When should you provide a good faith estimate?
The short answer is before treatment begins –– ideally a day before. If the client books a session 10 days prior, share the GFE within three days of request.
Does the client need to sign a good faith estimate?
No. The No Surprises Act doesn’t require the client to acknowledge the GFE.
How long is a good faith estimate good for?
That depends. Some sources for healthcare providers cite a 12-month time frame. But if you’re altering your fees or services, you’ll also need to modify your GFE.
Can I share a range instead of a stipulated fee in the GFE?
Yes, but this is valid when you’re unsure about the number of sessions a client might need. For instance, if a session costs $100 and the client is expected to take 4–5 sessions, share a GFE with a $400–$500 range.
What if an existing client wants a GFE for future services?
You’ll always need to provide uninsured or self-paying clients with a well-informed good faith estimate to ensure clients are aware of their upcoming expenditures.
A good faith estimate is an excellent way to build a relationship with clients. It lets them know how much they need to shell out for a particular service, helping them plan their monthly budgets. Alter your GFE per your requirements, and organize business operations and client data –– just like Practice’s Client Management software.
Practice has designed all its features with coaches in mind. Whether it’s scheduling appointments, storing files, or managing payments and invoices, our tools and features allow you to organize all your admin tasks. Head to our website and get started.