A bill that would free doctors participating in direct primary care (DPC) services from state insurance regulations is under consideration in the Florida House of Representatives.
House Bill 37 (HB 37), sponsored by state Rep. Daniel Burgess (R-Zephyrhills), would exempt DPC providers from insurance regulations.
Instead of billing insurance companies or the government for patients’ health care, doctors providing DPC enter into direct agreements with patients, charging a regularly scheduled fee and listing procedure prices up front.
The state House Health and Human Services Committee approved HB 37 in November. The Florida House’s 2018 session began on January 9.
Cost Flexibility for Patients
Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy at the James Madison Institute, says DPC gives doctors and patients authority over pricing.
“Direct primary care is a contractual relationship between a patient and their primary care physician, under which the physician agrees to provide a basket of traditional health care services for a flat monthly fee,” Nuzzo said. “By separating this contract from the traditional definition of insurance, health care providers and patients are in the driver’s seat on the cost of primary care.”
Expanding Health Care Options
Nuzzo says the bill will give patients more choices for health care.
“Enabling direct primary care to continue to function as it was intended, as an alternative to insurance, will enable more DPC practices to expand in the state and give patients and doctors something sorely needed: choice,” Nuzzo said.
‘Cuts Out the Middleman’
Burgess says DPC removes third-party insurance companies from the doctor-patient relationship.
“This type of relationship cuts out the middleman—the insurance company—and lets the patient and their doctor have a one-on-one relationship,” Burgess told Budget & Tax News.
Burgess says DPC helps doctors reduce costs.
“The great thing about direct primary care is that not only does it help restore the relationship between the patient and their doctor, but it is also much cheaper for the patient than a traditional arrangement,” Burgess said. “If we truly want to expand access to quality health care and lower the cost of health care, which is a goal shared by people on all sides of the health care debate, then we need to allow for DPC, and other arrangements like it, to flourish without government getting in the way.”