• Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate To Host October 15 Balance Billing Forum in Tallahassee
  • October 12, 2015
  • Law Firm: Colodny Fass P.A. - Sunrise Office
  • Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha'Ron James will host an October 15, 2015 public forum on the issue of balance billing, with the goal of finding a "balanced approach" to resulting unexpected medical expenses.

    The event, to be held at Florida's Capitol in Tallahassee, will convene regulatory and insurance industry groups, consumers and their representatives to participate and collaborate on Ms. James described as a critical consumer issue.

    "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," she said. "I would like to bring all the parties to the table to discuss a mutually sound and consumer-focused solution . . ."

    The tentative agenda includes presentations from the Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate's Office, the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Association of Health Plans, Florida CHAIN, Florida College of Emergency Physicians, and representatives from Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater's divisions, the latter who will speak about the impact of balance billing on consumers, as well as the receivership process when consumers are affected by failed insurance companies.

    Representatives from the Health Policy Institute will present on how other states have addressed the issue, while America's Health Insurance Plans will discuss the impact on overall health care affordability.

    "Balance billing" is what a patient may receive for health care services rendered by a provider outside of 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. According to the Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate, this billing practice most commonly occurs during emergency care situations, leaving consumers with surprising and costly medical bills.

    To be streamed live on www.TheFloridaChannel.org, the October 15 forum will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Affected consumers and interested parties are invited to participate in person and through written testimony.