ON March 9th of this year, just as the Legislative Session was coming to a close, our Legislators passed Governor Scott’s anti-consumer PIP reform Bill. This law will have a direct and negative affect on all of us who have the misfortune of being injured in an auto accident. While the constitutionality of this Draconian law will undoubtedly be challenged in our Court System, it will be our reality beginning January 1st, 2013 and for the foreseeable future.
Currently, all Auto Insurance policies sold in Florida must contain a provision that makes $10,000 available to the insured for Medical and Disability benefits regardless of fault. (This is commonly referred to as “No Fault” coverage). This law was passed years ago at the request of the Insurance Industry who assured all Floridians that their premiums would all be reduced because the law also restricted the circumstances an injured driver could be compensated for pain and suffering. Generally, an insured is entitled to these benefits for treatment for injuries that is reasonably related to injuries sustained arising from the operation or occupation of an insured auto. This scheme served to greatly reduce Insurance Companies exposure for payment of damages caused by their insured’s negligence. As we all know, the promised premium reductions never happened.
But, the Insurance Industry was not happy. They simply did not like the prospect of paying up to $10,000 for their customers’ injuries. Through the years, they have tried unsuccessfully to limit these benefits. But now, they found Governor Scott, who accommodates this industry at every opportunity.
Accordingly, under this law, to receive any benefits, you MUST receive treatment within 14 days of the accident. If the insured waits to the 15th day, he receives nothing.
Additionally, your $10,000 benefits our now reduced to $2,500 unless a MD or DO certifies that your injuries qualify as an “Emergency Medical Condition” . Note that while chiropractic care is still paid for, Chiropractors are not permitted to categorize your condition as “Emergency”
Additionally, massage therapy and acupuncture will simply not be eligible for any payment under this law.
Finally, before the Insurance Company makes any payments of any sort, it can force you to undergo an Examination Under Oath, set by your company.
These changes will undoubtedly cause delay in payments, delay and reduction in treatment, reduction in quality of treatment, and increased and costly litigation.
Can you guess what it will not cause? Not a penny savings to you in premium reductions. Next election, THINK before you vote!