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PIP Removal Legislation

Legislation is currently making its way through the Florida government concerning the state’s no fault/Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law. Right now, Florida law requires every driver to have PIP totaling $10,000 in medical and disability protection. No matter who is at fault for an accident, Florida’s no-fault law means that each person’s insurance covers only their own medical expenses or damages.

In 2012 the law was reformed and was put into place on January 1, 2013. This legislation was aimed at preventing insurance fraud by placing restrictions on PIP coverage. It created a limit on the amount of time an injured person had to seek medical treatment for their injuries. If an injured person does not seek initial treatment within a 14-day period, the insurance company will not reimburse anything.

The legislation also limited who is eligible for the full $10,000 Personal Injury Protection coverage. Only those with injuries deemed serious can receive the full amount of coverage. Furthermore, a licensed medical doctor, physician, or nurse practitioner must confirm an “emergency medical condition” is present in order for the injured to receive full PIP coverage. If serious injuries or an emergency medical condition are not present, the injured is entitled to only a quarter of PIP coverage--- $2,500 instead of the full $10,000.

However, the reform also required insurance companies to reduce Personal Injury Protection rates by 25% by 2014—one year from when the legislation was enacted.

Florida representative Erin Grall R- Vero Beach sponsored a bill that just passed a state house subcommittee (the Insurance & Banking subcommittee) by a vote of 12-2. The bill, if passed into law, would take effect January 1, 2018, and replace the requirement for $10,000 PIP with bodily injury liability protection of $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident. Many Florida drivers already have that kind of bodily injury coverage, so the proposed legislation will cut insurance costs. It is estimated that drivers would save an average of $80 per car after purchasing bodily injury coverage, which is required by state law.

Personal Injury Protection coverage gives injured people quick access to funds that will cover their emergency medical expenses and lost wages. Grall believed that PIP coverage is a duplication for those who already have health insurance. Florida insurance policies have among the highest premiums in the country, and drivers often pay up to a quarter of their total bill just to fund PIP coverage. Not only this, but PIP rates have increased by about 25% since 2015.

Some have called the required PIP coverage “double taxation”. If you have healthcare, PIP is an unnecessary price to pay for already covered medical expenses. If you are eligible for Medicare, that coverage will pay for medical expenses and any lost wages. However, for those who do not have medical insurance, PIP coverage is a quick way to pay for medical and other associated injury costs.

Those who are opposed to the new bill say it needs to better address reforming Florida’s bad-faith law in order to reduce the amount of lawsuits as well as delays in medical payments. Since 2015, insurance rates in Florida have increased by 25%, and all liability coverage has increased by 23%.

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