Your rights are changing and it is important to know who will benefit. PIP, or personal injury protection, is changing in Florida with the passage of CS/HB 119 that was passed on January 25, 2012. Currently, every auto insurance policy must include $10,000 in PIP medical insurance coverage (per person in accident). The new Bill would require drivers in an auto accident to receive emergency care within 72 hours of the accident. In order to be eligible for the benefits, you must be transported by ambulance, treated in a hospital by a MD, DO, dentist, ARNP, or PA, or admitted to a hospital. The largest note is this would not allow treatment from a chiropractor or massage therapist.
The downside of this plan is it will increase health care cost and will be a burden on the ER. By consequence, this will delay treatment for people in the ER. This should also decrease work for chiropractors and limit their ability to provide health care for much needed accident victims. There will also be additional requirements for coverage limits, a list of diagnostic tests, schedule maximum charges, and limit attorney fees. The main issue with this is that it will become more difficult for people in an auto accident to get help. With auto accident victims getting less help, the insurance companies will be allowed to expand their “examinations under oath”. This means more help for the insurance companies and less help for the victims.
There are quite a few reform bills currently making the rounds and any one of them could have lasting effects on whether auto accident victims are able to receive the care they deserve. The reason for the lawmakers to make changes is to prevent insurance fraud. With that said, it does not seem likely that these changes will be able to stop insurance fraud. This is a very important matter that is being decided. If you are in an auto accident, never assume you know the law; instead contact an attorney at Myers & Eichelberger for a free consultation at 1-888-ME-HELP-YOU.