Key pieces of Florida PIP auto insurance changes on hold for now Source
Florida drivers won a momentary reprieve this spring when a judge granted a temporary injunction to portions of restrictive automobile insurance “reform” that limits medical coverage drivers can be reimbursed for following a car accident.The Personal Injury Protection revision was part of sweeping auto insurance reform pushed by the insurance lobby and passed by the Florida Legislature in 2012. The changes took effect January 1. But in March, a judge put portions of the law on hold, according to a report in the Miami Herald. The fight is far from over and is expected to be tied up in court for months.At Emerson-Straw, our Tampa Bay personal injury lawyers know the ins and outs of the changes in the law. And there’s one that is significant for any driver involved in an accident – particularly drivers without health insurance coverage.
In the fine print of the law, the state created a two-week window for accident victims to seek “emergency care” or see their allotted medical coverage cut to just a quarter of what it’d normally be.
Let’s face it, unless a person is seriously injured at impact, most people are likely to try to fight through the injury until the point that it’s unbearable. They’re not going to take time off work to see a doctor unless it’s an emergency.
The new provisions essentially make any injury from a traffic accident into an emergency. The law used to provide up to $10,000 in medical and lost wage insurance for people injured in an automobile accident. The new law differentiates between emergent and non-emergent injuries, capping the medical costs at $10,000 for emergent and $2,500 for non-emergent, respectively. Previously, limits were $10,000 for any injury.
For someone without health insurance, $2,500 can disappear with one MRI, leaving the person to fend for his or her self to get medical treatment. Proponents of the PIP reforms, including Gov. Rick Scott, have said the changes are the reason to 70 percent of new insurance rates being either reduced or holding flat, according to the newspaper report. Interesting that the state won’t break down how many of those rates were actually decreased and resulted in the “lower” premiums the insurance lobby promised when promoting the changes. There are many numerous factors that go into the price of any good or service – from a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread to auto insurance or medical care. To point to one change you had a vested interest in bringing forward and say that’s the reason prices haven’t gone up is a stretch.
The move is a thinly veiled attempt to limit the information you as a driver have at your fingertips – information can that be used in court for you to be properly compensated for your injuries. Cutting allotments from $10,000 to $2,500 in effect cuts people without health insurance out of getting medical attention. And, it attempted to squeeze chiropractors, by restricting their ability to provide covered treatment for people injured in auto accidents – eliminating a primary diagnosis center for auto injuries, as people with neck or back pain often see a chiropractor first.
These changes can significantly limit your medical coverage and it’s important to know the limits of your policy in case you are involved in an accident.