The Florida state government has had a busy session in 2023 thus far, and some proposed changes that would effect the everyday Floridian could be slated to become law in July 2023, assuming that the Bills become law. The pieces of legislation, currently referred to as Senate Bill 268 (SB 268) and House Bill 1413 (HB 1413) for the 2023 session year, have similar goals but presently remain in their respective committees in the House and Senate. Each of these proposed laws would help to protect Florida consumers from the woes of medical debt.
The proposed legislation would aim to shorten the amount of time that a healthcare provider would have to attempt to bring forth a collections lawsuit against a patient, limiting the timeframe to a three year statute of limitations. Currently, medical providers can file a lawsuit to collect money owed for medical services rendered on a four or sometimes even a five year statute of limitations, depending on whether a written agreement to pay existed. The new legislation would prevent medical creditors from attempting to collect after just three years had passed. This change would certainly benefit consumers who may not have held onto documentation from their medical visit or insurance mailings for extended periods of time. The Bills also provide for additional exemptions to collect on certain types of personal property, such as your vehicle, to ensure that they cannot be taken from you or levied in an effort to pay a medical debt.
Furthermore, SB 268 and HB 1413 aims to tackle some of the issues of medical debt up front, by requiring that medical providers make available on their websites a consumer-friendly lists of standard charges for their medical procedures to allow consumers to “shop around” for the best price on medical services before a procedure. While similar requirements are already found in federal law through the Hospital Price Transparency Rule, these state laws would strengthen protections for Floridians. Beyond that, if a patient has health insurance and receives an estimate from a medical provider, the proposed laws would require their insurance company to respond with an advanced explanation of benefits provided prior to the procedure, so that the consumer can understand what their cost sharing would look like before having any procedure done. These types of changes are welcome protections for the everyday Floridian and would make understanding medical costs easier on the front end, so that we can make educated choices about what we have done and where we receive services.
Here at Holland Law Group, our attorneys are always reviewing changes to the law, and as proposals like SB 268 and HB 1413 for 2023 come into the public spotlight, we will monitor legislation to maximize your potential defenses to collections lawsuits. If you have any legal trouble with debt, be sure to contact our offices for a consultation today! HLG is your partner in the law! Contact us at (941)-744-5450 to learn more.