Big Votes on Ending Surprise Medical Bills in Florida

Daniela Nuñez
Social Media Program Manager

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

The fight to end surprise medical bills in Florida is heating up with two key votes in the Florida Legislature this week. The Florida House will be voting today and the Senate will vote later this week on two bills (HB 221 and SB 1442) that would protect you from surprise medical bills that could cost you thousands of dollars. As the bills inch closer to passage, unrelated amendments might be inserted, which could derail these good bills. If you live in Florida, click here to email your lawmakers right now to make sure these bills pass with no additional amendments!

Why is this legislation so important? It makes sure that when you go to an ‘in-network’ hospital on your insurance, you pay only in-network prices. Right now, a loophole in state law allows you to get hit with huge out-of-network charges for tests, specialists and other medical care you rightly thought were covered.

This protection is especially important if you need emergency care at a hospital. We’ve been hearing from Floridians about getting crazy bills for the ER, even though they went to a hospital on their health insurance. How can you ask everyone who treats you if they are in-network? And if they’re not, are you supposed to not get help? We’re fighting for the protections that all Floridians deserve when they are at their most vulnerable.

Your stories are helping us move this legislation forward! Yesterday, the Palm Beach Post featured our End Surprise Medical Bills story sharers Joyce and Jeff Trapp from Loxahatchee, who received bill collection notices at their home after Jeff, a police officer, needed emergency care after a motorcycle accident. Even though they had good insurance, the couple received almost $7,000 in surprise bills.

Florida lawmakers should do the right thing and help consumers get access to the medical services they need and avoid surprise bills. Laura Brennaman, policy and research director for Florida CHAIN, said, “We are very optimistic that the bill will pass the floor in both chambers — and the consumers of Florida will have a great victory.” Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate,  Sha’Ron James, said, “I believe we have a very good chance of passing a comprehensive ban on balance billing, which is what we set out to accomplish.”

Yesterday, James encouraged people to sign our action to end surprise medical bills in Florida:

We need your help to get this Florida legislation across the finish line! Don’t let special interests stick you with unfair, surprise medical bills. Tell your Florida legislators to vote YES this week and oppose any additional amendments. Florida lawmakers need to hear from as many Floridians as possible — not just industry lobbyists!

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