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CFO Atwater to Champion Health Care Billing Legislation

2/23/2015

Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413- 2842
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Committed to advocating for Florida families, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced SB516/HB681 as a priority legislative issue for the 2015 Session. This bill, sponsored by Senator Aaron Bean and Representative Carlos Trujillo, eliminates unexpected consumer costs that can arise following emergency medical care by outlining that preferred provider organizations (PPOs) must work directly with medical providers to determine an agreeable payment amount for out-of-network care.
 
“Consumers carry insurance to defray unexpected medical costs,” said CFO Atwater. “Emergency care shouldn’t leave consumers with surprising and costly medical bills, and this piece of legislation ensures that both consumers and providers will be treated fairly during the billing process.”
 
This legislation aims to create billing processes for out-of-network care that are similarly structured to that of in-network care. By doing so, medical providers and PPOs determine payment amounts, and consumers are guaranteed a predictable fee for out-of-network care.
 
“We don’t hesitate to take our loved ones to the nearest hospital in a medical emergency, just as doctors don’t hesitate to treat them,” said Senator Aaron Bean. “There’s a level of trust there, and it should carry over to the billing process, which should be straightforward and fair to all parties involved.” 
 
“Whether a consumer recognizes the term ‘balance billing’ or not, a vast majority of Floridians have been affected by its exorbitant billing at some point in their lives,” said Representative Carlos Trujillo. “I’m proud to sponsor this bill that will take consumers out of this equation altogether.”
 
“Like many of Florida’s families, our family, too, has been detrimentally impacted by the high costs associated with balance billing,” said Senator Oscar Braynon. “Because I carry this personal experience, I know first-hand the importance of leveling the playing field for consumers.”
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).