October 5, 2015
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, Sha’Ron James, invites the public and members of the media to participate in a forum focused on the issue of balance billing. This forum hopes to find a balanced approach to unexpected medical expenses, and it invites regulatory and industry groups, consumer representatives and Floridians themselves to participate and collaborate on this critical consumer issue. The forum will take place on Thursday, October 15 at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee.
“This issue impacts medical providers, insurers and others; however, it is the consumer who is left financially burdened by this form of unexpected healthcare cost,” James said. “I would like to bring all the parties to the table to discuss a mutually sound and consumer-focused solution to this issue.”
Balance billing is a term that describes the situation when a patient receives a bill for health care services rendered by a provider that is not within the patient’s outlined insurance network. Since an insurance carrier may pay only a portion of the costs associated with an out-of-network provider, the provider bills the patient directly to cover the remaining portion. The billing practice most commonly occurs during emergency care situations, and it often leaves consumers with surprising and costly medical bills.
The tentative agenda includes presentations from the Insurance Consumer Advocate, the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Association of Health Plans, Florida CHAIN, Florida College of Emergency Physicians as well as representatives from CFO Jeff Atwater’s divisions, who will speak about the impact balance billing has on consumers and on the receivership process when consumers are affected by failed insurance companies. The Health Policy Institute will present about how other states have addressed this consumer issue and America’s Health Insurance Plans will present about balance billing’s impact on overall health care affordability.
The forum will be held in Cabinet Meeting Room located on the Lower Level (LL) of the Florida Capitol Building located at 400 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida. The meeting will last from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. with a lunch break included. Affected consumers and interested parties are invited to participate. Written testimony may be submitted by emailing the Insurance Consumer Advocate, Sha’Ron James, at InsuranceConsumerAdvocate@MyFloridaCFO.com. Consumers can also reach the Office of the ICA by calling 850-413-5923.
For those who wish to participate outside of Tallahassee, the forum will be live streamed via the Florida Channel at www.thefloridachannel.org. To view the agenda and other informational materials, visit the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s website at: