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Lawmakers Look Again At 'Direct Primary Care'

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Florida House
The Florida Channel
State Rep. Fred Costello

After the idea received near-unanimous support from the House during a June special session, a Republican lawmaker this week renewed efforts to help clear the way for doctors and patients to enter into a type of primary-care arrangement that cuts out insurers.

State Rep. Fred Costello, R-Ormond Beach, filed a bill (HB 37) that will be considered during the 2016 legislative session. The measure involves what are known as "direct primary care agreements," which are contracts between patients and doctors that remove the role of insurers in making payments.

The bill, at least in part, would make clear that the agreements are not regulated by state insurance laws. A House staff analysis in June said that in direct primary-care agreements, patients typically pay monthly fees of $50 to $100 to physicians for services such as annual physicals, routine laboratory tests and vaccinations.

After paying the fees, patients can get the services without additional charges. Such agreements also can be coupled with insurance policies that cover high-cost treatments and illnesses and lengthy hospitalizations.

The House during a June special session voted 99-1 to approve a direct primary-care bill as part of a package of health-care proposals. The Senate, however, did not take up the bill.