After years of legislative discussion about the issue, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a measure (HB 37) that amends the state insurance code to make clear that “direct primary care” agreements do not run afoul of insurance laws.
Under direct primary-care agreements, doctors charge patients monthly fees in advance of providing services, with patients then able to access services at no extra cost.
The bill, sponsored by House Insurance & Banking Chairman Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, and Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, does not spell out how much can be charged or what services need to be included in the agreements.
Primary care providers are defined as physicians, osteopathic physicians, chiropractors, nurses or primary-care group practices.
The bill was one of 74 that Scott signed into law Friday, including a tax-cut package. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, made a priority of the direct-primary care issue, which also received heavy backing from the small-business group National Federation of Independent Business Florida.
“It turned out a great day for Florida’s small businesses to have Gov. Scott sign both small-business rent tax cuts and direct-primary care into law,” NFIB Executive Director Bill Herrle told the News Service of Florida, referring to part of the tax package that reduced a tax on commercial rents. “We look for the direct-primary care act to transform how small businesses and their employees get their primary health care delivered. Less middlemen, more docs.”
The Senate voted unanimously to pass the bill, which was approved in a 97-10 vote by the House.