.         Repeal of Mandatory PIP (personal injury protection insurance):  Several Florida legislators, including Senator Jeff Brandeis (Republican, St. Petersburg) are pushing for a repeal of mandatory PIP.  Their support for changing the system is motivated by a rising tide of fraudulent personal injury protection insurance claims around the state.  The proponents of the repeal advocate replacing it with a system in which injured drivers would look only to the at-fault driver’s bodily injury insurance policy (and his personal assets, if necessary) for reimbursement of their injury-related costs.  They believe that a consumer would save on auto insurance premiums if he were not required to buy PIP, but property damage and bodily injury liability coverages (that would cover other drivers and their passengers) instead.

I am not sure this repeal is the panacea that its advocates claim.   It is probable that the cost of bodily injury liability insurance will climb if the repeal is enacted.  Furthermore, I doubt that the repeal will reduce auto insurance fraud, since criminals could shift tactics, and purchase and claim against each other’s bodily injury liability policies.  The repeal would likely help the bottom-line of attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases, as more people would use the court system to compel payment for treating their injuries rather than going to their own insurance companies.

 

II.        Allow patients to sue HMOs for declining coverage of treatments recommended by their doctors in bad faith:  SB 262, sponsored by Greg Steube (Republican, Sarasota) would allow patients to sue health insurance corporations for denials of coverage that affects treatment.  Current law exempts HMOs from liability for medical providers’ treatment decisions.

            I believe this law would help improve the quality of health care and allow medical professionals to render appropriate care to their patients.  Over the last several decades HMOs have become the gatekeepers to health care for most patients.  They have rationed health care for their patients by restricting coverage to what they consider “medically necessary.”  Unfortunately, There are no guidelines for determining what treatments are medically necessary, and insurers’ medical decisions are often motivated by economic considerations.  The proposed law would give patients the ability to challenge arbitrary denials of treatment and deter HMOs from acting in bad faith.

 

   If you have been injured in an accident or your insurance company refuses to pay a claim, call ClarkeLaw PA for a free consultation at (305) 467-5560 or email us at john@clarkelawpa.com.