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Florida Supreme Court rules that trial court properly prohibited plaintiff from introducing as evidence the gross amount of her past medical expenses, limiting her to introducing only the discounted amount paid by Medicare

On April 28, 2022, in Dial v. Calusa Palms Master Association, Inc., No. SC21-43, the Florida Supreme Court answered a certified question from the Second DCA and ruled that its prior holding in Joerg v. State Farm, 176 So, 3d 1247 (Fla. 2015), that a trial jury’s calculation of future medical expenses could not be reduced by the potential availability of Medicare benefits, does not apply to the consideration of past medical expenses paid for by Medicare. The Florida Supreme Court consequently approved the Second DCA’s decision in this case, which affirmed a trial court ruling that precluded the plaintiff from introducing as evidence the gross amount of her past medical expenses and limited her to introducing only the discounted amounts paid by Medicare. Justice Poston, concurring, indicated that this ruling should be expanded to limit the admissible evidence of past medical expenses to the amounts medical providers were willing or required to accept in full satisfaction for services rendered to a plaintiff, regardless of whether those amounts are derived from government insurance, private insurance, or other third-party arrangement. Justice Labarga wrote in dissent that the majority was ignoring the primary purpose for excluding evidence of eligibility for past and future benefits from Medicare, Medicaid, and other social legislation as collateral sources: its explosive prejudicial effect.