A new law went into effect on July 1 to assist Florida's fight against suspicious claims and insurance fraud problems with the personal injury protection (PIP) law.
One of the biggest supporters of this law was Florida’s CFO, Jeff Atwater, who has appeared to be concerned with the many relationships between pain clinics and attorneys when it comes to insurance benefits.
The new law brings some major changes to Personal Injury Protection.
“Atwater helped push for changes to the state’s insurance law, specifically PIP reform. Under the new law, only emergency medical conditions will warrant the full $10,000 in treatment from PIP coverage. Consequently, pain clinics and lawyers will have to stop making advertising claims that they can guarantee accident victims $10,000. This provision is a direct response to pain clinics that exhaust an accident victim’s PIP money whether or not the victim needs treatment.”
As of January 1, 2013, the new law will cap chiropractic and physical therapy treatments at $2,500. Three other changes in January include:
A requirement that victims seek treatment within 14 days of an accident
Massage therapy and acupuncture will no longer be covered by PIP
Only certain medical providers will be eligible to treat PIP patients
The parts of the law that have already taken effect include:
Tougher licensing standards for medical clinics
A new state anti-fraud task force led by CFO Atwater
Stiff penalties for providers caught defrauding the system
A requirement that crash reports written and filed by police contain the names of all passengers in the vehicles, so that people not involved in the crash cannot go to a clinic claiming they need treatment
While many consumers are satisfied with this PIP reform, others still have their doubts and concerns when it comes to the lack of freedom victims will receive in their choice of medical treatment and some concerns expressed the new law favors the bottom line of the insurance companies.
However, the law also includes a requirement that insurance companies reduce their PIP premiums at least 10% by October 1 or provide ample documentation why they cannot. It also requires companies to reduce PIP premiums 25% by the year 2014. That’s a lot of money saved for Florida drivers and hopefully this reform will serve its purpose and spread to other states facing similar increases in suspicious claims.