House passes balance billing fix


The Florida House of Representatives Wednesday passed its version of a measure aimed at protecting patients from the practice of “balance billing.”

The bill (HB 221) was approved by an 116-1 vote, with only state Rep. Julio Gonzalez in opposition. The Venice Republican is an orthopedic surgeon.

The legislation was a priority of CFO Jeff Atwater, who opposes balance billing.

“To be balanced billed is to receive a request for payment from an out-of-network provider to cover the cost that your insurance company did not pay because the provider was not within their outlined network,” Atwater said in a statement.

“This situation happens most frequently during times of emergency (and) can result in high-dollar costs to the consumer.”

The House bill, sponsored by state Rep. Carlos Trujillo, a Miami Republican, “will hold the consumer harmless in emergency situations, paying no more than what you would pay if the provider had been in your insurance network.”

A Senate version (SB 1442) could be up for a final vote as early as Thursday.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected]


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