Second Florida PIP Reform Bill Gets Legislative Committee’s OK

A week after a second committee approved a car insurance reform bill circulating through the Florida House, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Thursday voted to advance an alternative measure also aimed at fixing problems with the state’s no-fault system.

All nine committee members voted to approve the bill, which would limit the types of care provided under personal injury protection (PIP), require service providers getting paid under PIP to be licensed and set new safeguards in place to help prevent fraud, among other things.

There has been an overwhelming push this session by the governor, insurance companies  and other legislators to get new laws on the books that would fundamentally change the state’s no-fault insurance system.

Proponents of reform say that the size of average Florida car insurance quotes has been going up every year because of inflated claims and unsustainable abuse of the system. Many say that the $10,000 PIP limit has become a dollar target for unscrupulous medical providers and residents seeking to cash in on the system.

By enacting a major overhaul, supporters of the bills say premiums will come down for Florida drivers.

The following are some of the major changes included in Senate Bill 1860, which was submitted by Sen. Joe Negron:

  • Eliminate coverage under PIP policies for rehabilitative massage and acupuncture
  • Require long-form crash reports for crashes in which any party claims physical discomfort
  • Authorize police who investigate a crash to provide testimony or affidavits to supplement crash reports
  • Require all health care entities providing services to be licensed clinics in order to be reimbursed under PIP policies, except for certain types of entities that are licensed otherwise
  • Step up operations related to investigating abuse of auto policies
  • Require insurers to repay within 30 days of notice all of the benefits paid by the state Medicaid program
  • Requires insurers to explain to claimants why they are denying a claim
  • Enacts a medical fee schedule

Senate Bill Less Radical than House Bill

Negron’s bill is significantly less sweeping than Rep. Jim Boyd’s House Bill 119, which was passed by a second committee last week along party lines.

Instead of barring reimbursement for unlicensed clinics and acupuncture and massage services, HB 119 would go a step further and virtually change the state’s no-fault system entirely, replacing PIP with emergency care coverage (ECC).

Under ECC, only treatment of emergency conditions would be covered. And even then those emergency conditions would need to be diagnosed by a doctor in the emergency room of a hospital or a hospital-licensed emergency clinic to be eligible for coverage, and they would need to be diagnosed within the first 72 hours after a crash.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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