PIP! PIP! Hooray!

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):

Life Without PIP

So there are some things to worry about.

Rep. Bogdanoff

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.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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3 Responses to PIP! PIP! Hooray!

  1. trailwind says:

    i’ve read a couple of articles about this issue and now consider myself an expert. 😉 i don’t know all the much about auto insurance, other than we’re required to have it.

    but from the little bit of reading and the flowchart, i know if the benefits will be all that great. i’d have to buy two forms of insurance i don’t currently have: medical payment and uninsured motorist. i don’t know what those would cost. and i don’t have regular health insurance; being a student, i work part-time, and can’t afford it.

  2. John Kotsay says:

    It still makes no since to force people to pay extra money for PIP when it duplicates other insurance. If I read this correctly, and 20% of drivers don’t have PIP or health insurance, then 80% DO!!!

    I have health insurance, I have AFLAC accident insurance, and if I am injured by the fault of another driver, my doctor doesn’t want the “negotiated” health insurance rate, he wants the full amount he is allowed to charge when I win the lawsuit.

    Do us a favor, Florida. Drop PIP for anyone who has proof of other insurance, and make only those who don’t have other coverage pay extra.

    Don’t punish 80% for what only 20% need. This is not responsible legislature.

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