Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Health Care, Insurance Popular Items at Legislature

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Health Care, Insurance Popular Items at Legislature

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- Health care and insurance legislation were a hot item again last week in the state capital.

The Senate Banking and Insurance committee passed a bill requiring health insurers to pay for the treatment of autism.

This bill will also need to be heard in the Health, Aging and Long-Term Care committee as well as the Fiscal Policy committee before it can come up for a vote on the Senate floor.

A similar bill has also been introduced into the House. It still needs to be heard in the House Insurance, Health Care Services and General Appropriations committees before being voted on by the full House.

Rep. Stan Bainter, R-Eustis, chairman of the House Insurance Committee, said that bill -- and the more than a dozen other mandate bills -- will not be heard unless it comes with an outline detailing what the costs will be to insurers.

This isn't the first time this autism bill has been through the committee process. Last year a similar bill was defeated.

Health insurers say passage of this bill will only impact those with small-group or individual insurance plans -- or about 30 percent of the population. That's because large employers are self insured and not regulated by the state. Those plans are regulated at the federal level.

Bainter's committee last week passed a bill that calls for all mandates to come with an actuarial study showing how much they will cost. That bill does not get rid of the state's more than 50 existing mandates, contrary to rumors circulating the state, he said.

The Senate Banking and Insurance committee also passed a bill -- which Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson proposed -- that would ban the sale of industrial life insurance policies. It also requires companies who have sold these policies to provide consumers information on their policies.

A similar bill in the House has been referred to the Insurance and Governmental Rules and Regulations committees.

Legislators also had a chance to hear from local hospital officials last Wednesday -- Hospital Day in the Legislature. …

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