My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Florida Insurance Fraud Education CommitteeThis week we’re celebrating the 25th year of the Florida Insurance Fraud Education Conference. Since 1992, we’ve been at the ground level of creating positive working relationships within Florida’s fraud-fighting community. For years the conference has helped foster partnerships, fine-tuned law enforcement techniques, and fashioned itself into the premier annual event that brings together all facets of the insurance industry. The shared goal remains the same: working toward a fraud-free Florida.

As we all know, the insurance industry is continually evolving, facing unique challenges and endless seasons of change. An ever-changing industry lends itself to an evolving criminal, and as the third largest state in the nation, Florida sees its fair share of enterprising con artists. To stay ahead of those who seek to defraud our friends and neighbors, we must aim to stay one step ahead of them.

Through this conference, insurance companies are able to work alongside law enforcement to combine collective years of experience and craft cooperative solutions to address current crime trends. And, if we’re to continue making the successful strides that we have, all must take advantage of the opportunity. I’m proud to say that the conference has continued to grow and more than 1,000 insurance and law enforcement professionals are expected to be in attendance this year.

Florida is nationally known for its fraud-fighting capacity because of the dedication of law enforcement units that chose to lead the way. With the help of FIFEC, we’ll continue to raise the bar. To learn more about the event, click here.

We’re continually working behind the scenes to educate Floridians about the harmful and costly effects of fraud. By working together, our eyes, our ears and our reach go further.

If you suspect someone has committed fraud or if you feel like you’ve fallen victim to fraud, please report it. Our Fraud Tip Hotline can be reached at 1-800-378-0445.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida



Florida's Bottom Line: H.B. 221 on Balance Billing

Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha'Ron James guest-authored a column in our latest edition of Florida's Bottom Line that focuses on the issue of surprise medical bills. Here is an excerpt:

Sha'Ron James, Insurance Consumer AdvocateUntil recently, the issue of surprise medical bills (also known as “balance billing”) was a growing concern in the state of Florida. The crux of the issue was that consumers were often treated at hospitals by doctors who were not members of their health insurance network, and afterwards, they were receiving surprise medical bills for the uncovered costs. This scenario often occurred during emergencies when the consumer had no ability or opportunity to choose an in-network doctor for their treatment, resulting in potentially thousands of dollars in unexpected costs. The only recourse for these consumers was to negotiate a settlement with their medical provider, make payment arrangements to avoid being referred to a collection agency, or to declare bankruptcy.

In an effort to explore solutions to this important healthcare issue, I hosted a forum that brought insurers, physicians, hospitals and other stakeholders together to find a balanced approach to address surprise medical expenses. We received testimony from consumers throughout Florida who had suffered a medical emergency, only to recover and face devastating financial losses that greatly impacted their quality of life. Based on the collaborative efforts of stakeholders to address this issue in the best interest of the Florida consumer, the Florida Legislature passed legislation to protect consumers from surprise medical bills and the practice of balance billing.

Read more from ICA James in the Spring edition of Florida's Bottom Line. A one-stop shop for the latest news and valuable insight on Florida's economy and financial health, Florida's Bottom Line is CFO Atwater's award-winning quarterly economic magazine and website.

Florida’s Bottom Line website reports the latest Florida financial news, with detailed charts showing the trends of Florida's economy and jobs over the past eight years, updated when new stats are released.

Operation S.A.F.E.Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart Workshops in Miami on June 13 and 14

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior – Are you at risk?
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors – Is this too good to be true?
  • How to Fight Identity Theft – Protect, Prevent, Police

Feedback from seniors who attended a Be Scam Smart workshop:

“Really learned a lot of valuable information.” - Jacksonville
“This was a very valuable topic of interest in our present world.” - Arcadia
“I live alone and learned a lot of helpful information that I can share with other seniors.” - Zephyrhills
“As a result of this presentation I will be more aware of what is going on around me.” - Pensacola
“The info was very good and eyes opened more than ever.” - Ormond Beach


Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshops:

Tuesday, June 13th – Miami
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Bethany Seventh Day Adventist Church Fellowship Hall
2500 NW 50th Street, Miami, FL 33142
Register | Directions | Flyer

Wednesday, June 14th – Miami
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Ro-Mont South Condominium Homeowner’s Association
20314 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33179
Register | Directions | Flyer

Please let us know if you would like to request a workshop in your area.

Florida Economic Briefs

Unemployment Rate Holds Steady
The national unemployment rate held steady in May at 4.3 percent. A total of 138,000 nonfarm jobs were created last month.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Personal Income Ticks Up
Personal income, a measure of average pre-tax incomes, increased by 0.4 percent in April. This represents a larger growth rate than the 0.2 percent that was seen in March.
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis