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Weekly Legislative Update from February 2, 2018

Health Care

HB 1369-Relating to Long-Term Care Facility Responsibility

On Tuesday, January 30th, HB 1369 by Representative Amber Mariano (R-North Port Richey) was heard before the House Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee and passed by a vote of 9 yeas to 6 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in opposition to this bill.

HB 1369 addresses several provisions related to claims and lawsuits against nursing homes and assisted living facilities, to include:

  • Decreasing the amount of funding that is used to support the Quality of Long-Term Care Facility Improvement Fund (fund) by changing the amount awarded from punitive damages be split equally between the fund and the claimant, to 10 percent of the award be paid to the fund.
  • Requiring nursing center to carry minimum of $2 million liability insurance policies and a yearly aggregate limit of $4 million. If this requirement is not met the state can revoke a nursing center’s license. 

HB 1369 will go on to the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee to be heard.

AIF opposes this legislation that promotes costly lawsuits and diminishes resources for nursing centers and assisted living facilities resident care.


SB 280-Relating to Telehealth

On Tuesday, January 30th, SB 280 by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) was heard before the Senate Committee on Health Policy and passed unanimously by a vote of 8 yeas to 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.

SB 280 provides specific authorization for the provision of health care services through telehealth. Telehealth is the provision of health care services using telecommunication technologies, which allows licensed practitioners in one location to diagnose and treat patients at a different location. The bill will remove regulatory ambiguity regarding the provision of health care services using this technology because it is not currently addressed in Florida Statutes.

SB 280 will go on to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services for its next hearing.

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 217 & SB 162-Relating to Payment of Healthcare Claims

On Tuesday, January 30th, HB 217, by Representative Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton) was heard before the House Health Innovation Subcommittee and passed. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in opposition to this bill.

On Thursday, February 1st, SB 162, by Senator Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) was heard before the Senate Committee on Rules and passed by a vote of 12 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in opposition to this bill.

These bills prohibit health insurers and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) from retroactively denying a claim if the insurer or HMO verified the eligibility of an insured or subscriber at the time of treatment and provided an authorization number, regardless of if the insured has paid their premiums prior to that claim rendering them ineligible for coverage. The House version specifies that the claim cannot be retroactively denied during the relevant grace period, while the Senate version states that the claim cannot be retroactively denied at any time.

HB 217 will go on to the House Appropriations Committee for its next hearing.

SB 162 will go on to the Senate floor for consideration.

AIF opposes legislation removing insurers ability to retroactively deny claims, even those that have not paid their premiums. This legislation would raise costs on employers who would be required to pay health care expenses of people who are no longer employees, and consumers would bear the burden of paying the high costs of fraud, waste and abuse that would occur in the system.


SB 98-Relating to Health Insurer Authorization

On Wednesday, January 31st, SB 98, by Senator Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) was read for a third time on the Senate floor and passed by a vote of 37 yeas to 0 nays.

This legislation creates a standard process for the approval or denial of (1) prior authorizations and (2) step therapy (“fail-first”) protocol exceptions. Currently, the many health insurance carriers in Florida employ robust policy product offerings containing medically-proven prior-authorization and step-therapy programs designed to reflect the protocols and standards of care, advanced and adopted by a vast array of specialty physicians based on their latest evidence-based research. These procedures and protocols allow for the use of the safest, most appropriate and most cost-effective drug, and permit progressing to other, more costly drugs with more sophisticated interactions and side-effects, in accordance with FDA approvals.

SB 98 will move on to the House floor for consideration.

AIF opposes this legislation as it would force insurers and consumers to purchase the most expensive drugs and treatments even when equally effective therapies are available at much lower costs.