House Poised To Take Up ‘AOB,’ Health Bills

Apr 5, 2019

The Florida House is scheduled Wednesday to wade into the battle over the controversial insurance practice known as assignment of benefits. 

The so-called AOB fight is among numerous issues that House leaders plan to consider during a floor session. Assignment of benefits is a practice that has been used for decades and involves policyholders signing over claims to contractors, who then pursue payment from insurers.

The insurance industry and business groups are lobbying for changes, contending AOB has become riddled with fraud and litigation, driving up insurance premiums. Plaintiffs’ attorneys and other groups argue AOB is important because it helps ensure that insurance companies pay claims properly.

The House is slated to take up a bill (HB 7065), sponsored by Civil Justice Chairman Bob Rommel, R-Naples, that would make a series of changes in AOB laws, including limiting fees paid to attorneys who represent contractors in disputes with insurers.

Also during Wednesday’s floor session, the House is slated to consider several health-care bills, including a proposal (HB 19), sponsored by Rep. Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, that seeks to clear the way for importing cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has made a priority of a drug-importation program, which also is backed by House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes. Another measure (HB 23) going to the House floor Wednesday would seek to set up a regulatory framework for the use of telehealth. That proposal has been spearheaded by Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville.