Recently filed legislation in the Florida House, HB 37, seeks to protect direct patient/doctor agreements from burdensome government regulations by establishing in law that a “Direct Primary Care agreement” and the act of entering into such an agreement is not insurance and not subject to regulation under the Florida Insurance Code. Read the original proposed bill here.
The legislation specifies that, “A direct primary care agreement does not constitute insurance and is not subject to the Florida Insurance Code. The act of entering into a direct primary care agreement does not constitute the business of insurance and is not subject to the Florida Insurance Code.”
The intent is to free doctors and patients from the onerous requirements and regulations under the state insurance code.
“Direct Primary Care” involves an agreement between a patient and physician or practice, which typically involves patients paying a set monthly or annual fee to a physician or practice and then being able to get routine primary care (generally) without additional costs. The arrangements eliminate the role of insurers in such care.
In addition to office visits, some programs offer discounted prescriptions, personal health coaches, stitches, basic laboratory work and diagnostic work such as EKGs, x-ray, ultrasound, etc., though services vary by provider. Some Direct Primary Care providers say they can address 80 or more of the top 100 most common diagnoses.
In 2015, several states including Idaho, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and Missouri passed similar bills.
According to the Liberty First Network, a “Primary Care agreement gives Doctors a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee that covers all or most primary care services. Direct care benefits patients by providing substantial savings and more access to, and time with, physicians. Direct Primary Care agreements makes doctors responsive to patients, not insurance company bureaucrats or government rule-makers.”
Sponsors of the bill are Representatives Daniel Burgess (R) and Mike Miller (R). Co-sponsors include: Representatives MaryLynn Magar (R), Cyndi Stevenson (R), and Frank White (R).