The Florida Legislature passed (signed by Governor Rick Scott) a bill that may be the most consumer-friendly in the country concerning “Balance Billing.“ Yes—FLORIDA.
Balance Billing was previously illegal in Florida for both Medicare and HMO patients but led to financial havoc for thousands of Floridians with PPO coverage. Simply, a patient who went to an in-network hospital’s emergency room. However, many doctors, although affiliated with the hospital, were not “in-network” for these patients.
The treating emergency room doctor (whom the patient had no option in choosing) submits a “full-price bill say $1,200 to the insurance company. It would cover it’s normal negotiated rate- say $300.
As a result of having no way to choose their doctors, thousands of patients were pursued by medical billing companies (many of which were ruthless about pursuing the patient into collections, negative credit reporting, and sometimes lawsuits). This doesn’t mean that all medical bills will not be vigorously pursued. But they will no longer be pursued as the product of balance billing.
That has changed- Thank you Florida Legislature for “doing the right thing.”