The auto insurance bill is expected to preserve more than $2 billion in government-mandated health care coverage. Defended by hospital and insurances lobbyists, the controversial bill has plenty of opponents who believe it simply adds to the bottom lines of big insurance companies while lessening benefits and choices of consumers, including:
- Requiring treatment within 14 days
- Eliminating massage therapy or acupuncture benefits
- Reducing treatment benefits to $2,500 instead of the current $10,000
Not all of Florida’s legislators were in favor of the PIP-protection bill. In fact, some from both the Democratic and Republican parties tried to suggest alternatives to the bill including an alternative that would end personal injury protection coverage and require bodily-injury liability insurance instead. All such efforts, however, proved futile. Some suspect the failure is due, in part, to the top contributors to the state’s political parties and legislators-contributors who benefit from mandated PIP coverage.
Florida’s personal injury protection system began in the 1970s as an effort to reduce lawsuits and to provide quick payments for minor injuries after car accidents. Instead, it has been a perpetual source of concerns about high premiums and fraud. In December 2011, a state working group released findings indicating those concerns may be accurate. According to the group, Florida’s PIP system results in “staggering” rate increases causing some families to pay more than $3,000 for only $10,000 in coverage. Further, 95 percent of more than 35,000 lawsuits filed in 2012 in Florida’s county courts directly involved PIP insurance.
If the bill is signed into law, as is expected, injured victims may find themselves coming up short when it is time to pay medical and treatment bills. If the victims have health insurance, the surplus costs would likely shift to the traditional health insurance plan. Victims may also have the right to pursue legal recourse against the at-fault drivers and their liability insurance coverage.
Source: Palm Beach Post, “Unpopular no-fault auto insurance mandate hangs on in Florida,” Charles Elmore, 4/7/2012.
Posted in Car Accidents on Monday, April 23, 2012.