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Florida House passes balance billing fix

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

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.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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