Balance billing, also known as surprise billing, is when your medical provider is either contractually (think health insurance) or statutorily required to accept a reduced amount for payment for specific treatment, but then tries to illegally bill the patient the difference.
In Florida, there are laws in place to protect you from balance billing. If you receive a balance bill, you can dispute it with your insurance company or the provider. You can also file a complaint with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. We at The Russo Law Firm have helped countless patients who have been improperly balanced billed by their providers.
The Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act (FCCPA) is a law that protects consumers from unfair and deceptive debt collection practices. The FCCPA prohibits debt collectors and creditors (including medical providers) from engaging in certain activities, such as calling you at inconvenient times, threatening to take legal action against you if you do not pay your debt, or balance billing.
If you believe that a debt collector has violated the FCCPA, you can file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office. Further, we at The Russo Law Firm can seek statutory damages for your benefit, including, but not limited to $1,000.00 even if you suffered no actual damages. The Florida legislature enacted the FCCPA to protect consumers and punish business entities that try to take advantage of Florida residents.
How to Protect Yourself from Balance Billing
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from balance billing:
- Contact your health insurance provider and confirm that the provider has paid the medical bill. Also, ask if you are responsible for any deductible or co-pay. If the provider tries to bill you for more than your deductible and co-pay then the provider has likely illegally balance billed and also violated the FCCPA
- Ask your insurance provider to give you copy of the explanation of benefits showing that the provider paid the for the medical services at issue.
- Call us at The Russo Law Firm so we can dispute the bill on your behalf. If the provider continues to try to illegally collect from you then, with your permission, we will file suit against the medical provider for violation the FCCPA.
Balance billing can be a confusing and frustrating experience. However, there are laws in place to protect you from this practice. If you receive a balance bill, then we are hear for you to protect your rights. After all, you have been paying health insurance premums year after year so that you and your family can received medical treatment with the fear of outstanding medical bills.