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Health & Science

Hospital Price Transparency, Anti-Balance Billing Bills Become Law

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Florida Hospitals will now have to be more transparent when it comes to pricing, and consumers will get more protections from unexpected healthcare bills.  Governor Rick Scott signed off on the measures Thursday.

For the past year, Governor Rick Scott has criticized the state's hospitals for what he calls "price gouging" patients.

House Bill 1175 now requires hospitals to post prices and average payments online. The Florida Hospital Associated created a website featuring similar information earlier this year. pulls data from state and federal databases to create a clearer financial picture for consumers. 

“We stand ready to work with the Agency for Healthcare Administration to implement this legislation and create an additional resource for patients and their families," said Monica Corbett, spokeswoman for the FHA. The association helped work on the bill.

Part of the new law requires insurers to post claims information in a database and facilities to post prices online. Patients are also entitled to estimates.

Meanwhile, House Bill 221 stops insurers from billing patients for emergency or non-emergency services out of that patient’s control. The insurers would have to negotiate those balances with providers. The bill marks a victory for outgoing Senate President Andy Gardiner whose son has Down Syndrome. The diagnosis would now be covered by large group providers.