Florida Legislates Healthcare Price Shopping

Florida Patient Savings Act legislation enables health insurers to offer incentives to Floridians who shop for high quality, lower cost healthcare services.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs the Patient Savings Act

Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis signed CS/HB 1113: Health Insurance, also known as the Patient Savings Act. This legislation enables health insurers to offer incentives to Floridians who shop for high quality, lower cost healthcare services.

CS/HB 1113 creates a framework for health insurers to voluntarily establish a shared savings incentive program for certain elective (non-emergency) healthcare services. This program not only encourages Floridians to compare pricing for routine services, but has the potential to provide savings to both patients and providers.

Governor DeSantis recognized the efforts of Representative Paul Renner and Senator Manny Diaz for their hard work this session to increase options for all Floridians to reduce their healthcare costs. With the signing of this legislation, we are empowering patients in Florida.” Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez added, “I applaud the legislature for passing a bill that will provide price transparency, efficiency in the healthcare marketplace and ensures Floridians will save money.”

The new law allows Florida patients to reduce their healthcare costs when they select higher-value medical procedures. Those patients will receive tax-free savings that make healthcare more affordable if their insurer voluntarily participates in the program. 

But given the tremendous push back that we’ve seen from the insurance lobby and from the AHA after the President’s Executive Order earlier this week, we wonder how many insurers will voluntarily agree to this. Second, the model also bumps up against an existing patent protection that is still in force that requires those who might use this model of sharing savings back with patients if they haven’t paid the licensing fee to the patent holder.  Currently, the patient is held by Health Flights, Inc. and was originally filed by Satori World Medical, now bankrupt. 

Beginning January 1, 2019, a similar program was offered to state employees and, in February, Governor DeSantis sent a letter to Department of Management Services (DMS) Secretary Jonathan Satter directing DMS to focus on strengthening employee participation. In the few months since the program launched, there have been over 130,000 searches on the quality and pricing tool, which are already resulting in savings to the state and its employees.

The directory being used by the State of Florida is one that lists its best prices in the USA for surgeries offered on SurgeryShopper.com at about 50% more than the prices on SurgeryShopper.com. That’s probably because the directory they use charges access fees to employers. Case in point, they state that for a Total Knee Replacement, a fair price is $34,357 and the lowest price being 22,044. We list the same surgery at a price of $14,990 for the same procedure. On the high side, they show the range as $54,545. That’s 364% more than the prices you will find on SurgeryShopper.com. 

Nonetheless, it shows that employers are well on their way to understanding the value of shopping tools for employee benefits. What we’ve learned over the years is that implementation and program design will make or break the value proposition, not the prices of the procedures. If people won’t use your program because they don’t understand it, it’s too cumbersome or too narrow, or confusing to see themselves using in, savings don’t materialize at any price and the program is a waste of time, effort and opportunity. 

SurgeryShopper.com applauds the Florida initiative. It’s a step in the right direction of the voluntary uptake is given a chance. Without insurer support, however, he may have signed a blank piece of paper for all the impact it could have without the buy in from providers and insurers. We wish them luck.

benefits cost containment, employers, In the news,

SurgeryShopper.com has suspended most operations due to COVID19 travel restrictions and our participating health facilities' limitations to accommodate all but essential and urgent cases. We'll resume service based on our re-assessment scheduled for May 1, 2020.

In this ‘time out” period, we’ll be doing some website overhaul, and working on adding new provider listings, and other “rainy day” tasks that can be accomplished by team members working from home.

If you’d like to plan or inquire about a procedure upon our resumption of services, our telephones are still fully staffed around the clock utilizing our quality assurance backup contingencies, so call anytime. 

TIP: If you know you need to plan an elective surgery or shop prices, get started ASAP. Once hospitals and outpatient surgery centers resume normal operations and replenish supplies in high demand, elective scheduled surgery will be overwhelmed. In the event of price increases, lock in your price quotes, reserve your surgery and consultation appointments, and arrange any needed financing for summer surgeries as soon as you are ready.

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