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Capitol Reax: Balanced billing, incentives

The Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved a proposal (SB 1442) that bans the practice of balance billing. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia, is backed by CFO Jeff Atwater, who has said he wants consumers to pay no more than that what they would pay had they been in-network.

Audrey Brown, president and CEO of the Florida Association of Health Plans, said in a statement:

“Floridians who have preferred provider organization (PPO) health plans, which is more than half of the state’s consumers, are often being overwhelmed when hit with surprise medical bills, also known as balance billing – a practice where health care providers bill consumers for the balance of the retail charges for medical services after various payments to the health care providers are made.

Fortunately for Florida consumers, relief is in sight thanks to the hard work of Senator Garcia, who has worked tirelessly to bring all parties to the table to reform this system and institute commonsense public policy that ends the often devastating practice of PPO balance billing for Florida consumers.

At FAHP, and on behalf of our PPO policyholders, we fully support Senator Garcia’s bill aimed at reforming the current practice of PPO balance billing and applaud members of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee for passing this consumer-friendly policy today.”

• • •

Floridians may be getting a mailer from Americans for Prosperity-Florida in their mailboxes.

AFP-FL announced it planned to do a direct mail campaign commending House members for their opposition to incentive proposals. According to AFP-FL, 21 lawmakers have taken votes to move a budget that doesn’t include incentives to the film industry, sports teams or Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed $250 million Enterprise Florida fund.

Chris Hudson, state director for Americans Prosperity-Florida, said in a statement:

“I want to commend all the members of the House who have already taken steps at passing a responsible budget. There is still work to be done, but the fact that these members are supporting a budget that does not include key corporate welfare handouts is a step in the right direction to ensure Florida families and entrepreneurs have the best chance at continuing to prosper in the sunshine state.”

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