Florida medical providers must be extremely careful when balance billing patients. The consequences of making a mistake can be costly.
Section 559.72(9) Florida Statutes prohibits attempting to collect a debt that is not due. The punishment can be the assessment of actual damages, a civil fine, and the payment of the Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and court costs. Section 559.77 Florida Statutes.
Many statutes, most private health insurance policies, and Medicaid and Medicare prescribe how much, if any, a medical provider may balance bill for services provided. For example, authorized medical providers in workers’ compensation cases may not balance bill at all, Section 440.13(14)(a) Florida Statutes, while providers accepting payments through PIP insurance (motor vehicle accident cases) are limited to balance billing 20% of “allowable charges,” which, in most instances, is significantly less than their on-the-books outstanding charges. Section 627.736(5)a.5 Florida Statutes.
For private health insurance, the terms of the insurance contract itself control the issue, with provisions ranging from zero allowable balance billing to full balance billing. For the most part, these policies allow a small amount of balance billing, again leaving the providers with large uncollectible accounts receivable.
Our law firm sees a fair amount of inappropriate balance billing, but less and less each day as medical providers become more aware of the dangers associated with the practice. Good thing.
Contact us at 866-785-GALE or by email to learn your legal rights.
Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.