Thursday, April 20, 2006

Florida: Battle rages over PIP

From various sources including the Miami Herald, the AFTL, the Bradenton paper, and the PB Post:

The Senate's no-fault auto insurance bill is picking up some steam, but it does not include many of the measures that insurers want. By way of background, the bill would extend the state's no-fault law to 2009, which is now set to expire in October. The designated October date is the "sunset" date.

On the House side, a companion bill will be heard today that extends Personal Injury Protection to 2012.

The bill gives $2.6 million to add 19 positions to the Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Fraud and provide pay raises for existing personnel. It also adds $750,000 to pay for six new assistant state attorneys to work solely on insurance fraud cases.

Florida is one of twelve states with no-fault auto insurance laws. Each driver must buy at least $10,000 in PIP coverage, which guarantees medical, disability and death benefits. In return, accident victims give up the right to sue for pain and suffering unless they have sustained a permanent injury.

For their part, most healthcare providers and attorneys would like to see the current law extended with no changes.

I'm licensd in Florida. When PIP-type coverage was done away with in Georgia the battle cry from the insurers was 'lower premiums' but that of course never materialized.

In the end, unpaid bills from auto wrecks were paid by ... guess who? If you said "taxpayers" you would be right. Many bills are now submitted to Georgia Medicaid which pays them and in return seeks some level of subrogation.