With the start of the new year, come some new laws taking effect in Florida. Here is what you need to know.
We will start off with a federal law that took effect January 1.
No Surprises Act– this is a new nationwide law requiring insurance companies to cover certain out-of-network expenses for emergencies. It establishes protections against surprise medical bills. Surprise medical bills occur when insured consumers inadvertently receive care from out-of-network hospitals, doctors or other providers they did not choose. Consumers often expect their employer-sponsored insurance will protect them from out-of-pocket emergency room costs, but that is not usually the case.
A report by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found surprise medical bills are common among the privately insured. This new law seeks to financially protect the insured.
Below are statewide bills that began in Florida, January 1 of this year.
Uber and Lyft drivers– a new law created to improve safeguards for peer-to-peer car sharing. An individual’s rental car must be up to date on safety recalls and both owner and driver are required to meet minimum state insurance levels. Additionally, rideshare companies must collect sales tax from trips.
Child Safety Alarm Act– this makes it mandatory that all vehicles used by child care facilities to transport children must be equipped with an approved alarm system that prompts the driver to inspect the vehicle for the presence of children before leaving the area.
“One instance is too many, this law is a no brainer and should be expanded to private individuals,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent auto insurance company.
Kids and hearing– health insurance companies must now provide hearing aids when required, for children 18 and under.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 14.9% of children between the ages of 6-19 years of age experience low to high frequency hearing loss in one or both ears.
Reduced workers compensation rates– employers will experience a reduction in worker’s compensation insurance of 4.9% for both new and renewed policies.
Public Notary– a new law requires video storage of online notary sessions. It also allows court reporters to remotely swear in witnesses and newly admitted attorneys via audio and video.
The next state legislative session begins in Tallahassee, January 11.