A bill clearing its first House panel could save patients on certain health care services

Female Doctor with Stethoscope Holding Piggy Bank with Bruised Eye and Bandage.
The bill would allow patients to shop around for the best prices.

A bill aimed at saving health care consumers money cleared its first committee stop Tuesday.

Rep. Clay Yarborough’s bill (HB 1279) would require the Agency for Health Care Administration’s Florida Center for Health Information and Transparency to publish an annual report on July 1 of each year outlining the most significant price variations in health care costs at both the state and regional level.

The bill would also amend the existing Patient Savings Act to increase the amount of health care services considered “stoppable” for purposes of saving both consumers and health care providers money.

Lawmakers last year approved a provision in that act allowing consumers to shop a variety of different services in search of the best deal. The consumer then shares those savings with the health care provider. Before that provision, if a consumer found a cheaper alternative, the savings typically only benefited the provider.

The new provision would use findings from the Florida’s Center’s annual report to add services available for savings sharing based on those found to be have the biggest price variations among providers.

The currents savings sharing model includes clinical laboratory services, infusion therapy, inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures, obstetric and gynecological services, outpatient nonsurgical diagnostic tests and procedures, physical and occupational therapy services, radiology and imaging services, prescription drugs and services provided through telehealth.

Under current law, insurers and HMOs operating a patient savings program can opt to reward participants through deposits to health-related accounts like flexible spending accounts or through premium reductions.

Yarborough’s bill allows insurers to provide those savings through cash or cash-equivalent incentives.

Insurers offering the program must develop a website outlining the range of shoppable services available. That website must provide patients with an inventory of participating health care providers and an accounting of the shared savings incentives available for each service.

The bill cleared the House Health market Reform Subcommittee unanimously among those present. There was no debate on the measure. It heads next to the Appropriations Committee. The House Health and Human Services Committee is the bill’s third committee of reference.

An un-linked bill (SB 1836) addressing health insurance and prescription drug coverage is expected to become its companion.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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