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Weekly Legislative Update from March 4, 2016

Health Care

SB 1686 & HB 7087- Relating to Telehealth
As we reported on Wednesday, March 2nd, HB 7087, relating to telehealth was passed by the Florida House. Then, on March 3rd, the Florida Senate took up HB 7087 in lieu of its Senate companion SB 1686.

Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) filed a comprehensive amendment which eliminates the provisions of the House bill relative to out of state providers. The amendment was adopted and HB 7087 passed by a vote of 38 yeas to 0 nays.

The bill will require the task force to compile data and submit a report by June 30, 2017, to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives that analyzes:

  • Frequency and extent of the use of telehealth nationally and in this state;
  • Costs and cost savings associated with using telehealth;
  • Types of telehealth services available;
  • Extent of available health insurance coverage available for telehealth services; and
  • Barriers to implementing the use of, using, or accessing telehealth services.

HB 7087 must now return to the House for its consideration as amended.

AIF supports legislation that permits an unfettered role for telehealth services that will allow our citizens access to better quality care at lower costs.

HB 221- Relating to Out-of-Network Health Insurance Coverage
On Friday, March 4th, HB 221, relating to Out-of-Network Health Insurance Coverage, by Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-Doral) was read for a third time on the Senate floor and passed unanimously by a vote of 38 yeas to 0 nays. However, as we reported earlier this week, the version of the bill passed by the Senate today contains provisions adopted in a Senate amendment that have not yet been considered by the House. Accordingly, the bill will return to the House in messages for its further consideration. 

The intent of this bill is to protect consumers from balance billing when that situation occurs in an emergency setting; the balance bill is the difference between the provider's charges and the amount the provider has received in reimbursement from the consumer's insurance plan. Provider charges in Florida are often 100 times more than Medicaid charges, so this legislation should cap a significant cost driver in today's health care system. However, the version passed by the Senate also contains a controversial provision that would prohibit insurers of certain policyholders in certain types of coverage plans from retroactively denying a procedure previously approved unless the patient’s premium has been unpaid for more than 30 days. The other new provision in this bill mandates coverage and treatment for developmental disabilities already defined in statute. The exact cost impact of these provisions is unknown but many industry experts believe they will significantly increase health insurance costs.

AIF will continue to monitor this legislation and its impacts to Florida employers throughout the legislative session.