The Senate Rules Committee advanced a bill on Monday that would put an end to surprise medical bills after emergency air ambulance rides.
Rules was the final committee reference for SB 736, which now heads to the chamber floor.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Manny Diaz, would prevent air ambulance companies from making up for Medicaid and Medicare underpayments by shifting the costs on to patients with private insurance.
An airlift typically costs around $11,000, including profit, but many Floridians have been charged upward of $30,000 for a ride. Because insurance plans pay a rate based on the actual cost of the service, the practice leaves them holding the bag.
Shutting down air ambulance balance billing is a top priority of the Florida Association of Health Plans, which celebrated the committee win in a Monday evening news release
“We applaud the Senate Rules Committee for advancing SB 736 and making it available to be heard on the Senate floor for consideration by the full body,” FAHP President and CEO Audrey Brown Bridges said. “We are grateful that Senator Manny Diaz has championed this good legislation, as Florida’s health plans firmly believe no Florida family should go bankrupt as result of being transported via air ambulance to receive lifesaving medical care.
“With passage today in its final committee stop in the Florida Senate, we look forward to this good public policy being approved by the Florida Senate and, ultimately, being signed into law by Governor [Ron] DeSantis,” she concluded.
The chances of legislative victory are high, as the full House already cleared its version of the bill, HB 747 by Republican Rep. Jayer Williamson, with a unanimous vote.