A number of news outlets — and a few other blogs — have written about the end of PIP in Florida. “PIP” – no, not a Dickens character – is the requirement that all drivers carry personal injury protection as part of their auto insurance. In fact, this is really all that is required under Florida law, although lien holders can require additional coverage (such as “comp” and “collision” coverage).
PIP has been fraught with fraud and other problems for YEARS. You can thank a lot of the “1-800-ASK” services — chiropractors and doctors who file claims under PIP for treatments they never provide. Yeah, their greed means we pay more for auto insurance.
So a few years ago, the Legislature tried to make some changes… they tweaked things here and there… but everyone couldn’t agree. So they added a little a caveat – a sunset. The entire law disappears on October 1, 2007. At the time, everyone expected the interested parties – doctors, trial lawyers, hospitals, insurance companies, chiropractors – to get together and work out some kind of arrangement. No dice.
Okay, so you’re asking, why is this important? Who cares if PIP sunsets? Well, imagine getting into an accident and getting hurt… AH!
Well, the Department of Financial Services has this nifty, neat flow chart for you (click for larger version):
So there are some things to worry about.
Enter Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, Majority Whip.
It sounds like she has found a workable plan… it negatively affects all of the parties involved…
- Doctors, chiropractors, and hospitals can “charge no more than the usual and customary amounts for similar services in the community” and only for “medically necessary services;”
- Trial laywer fees are limited; and
- Insurance companies who repeatedly deny claims will be guilty of unfair trade practices “subject to penalty under the Insurance Code”.
Now this new PIP doesn’t quite go as far as the old PIP, but it reduces the 20% co-pay required and the option for a $2,000 deductible.
Now, this is the House plan. The Senate has not decided whether or not it wants to go along, and the Senate is generally more friendly to trial lawyers than doctors and insurance companies. That could mean this is DOA… or, more likely, it could be a point of leverage over budget cuts… after all, they will be going to Tallahassee to cut $1.1 billion from the state’s 2007-2008 budget.
Oh, and the House plan sunsets in five more years. So it could be second verse, same as the first in 2012.