The Broward and Palm Beach County New Times has a good article addressing the new PIP reform law and how it fails to help consumers and the people of Florida. Click here for the full article
One of the main issues of the Florida legislative session that ended last month was PIP (personal injury protection) reform. Governor Rick Scott wanted sweeping changes to the PIP laws and was backed by the big money and lobbyists of the insurance industry. With promises of lower insurance premiums and other benefits for the consumer, the legislature finally passed a PIP reform bill, but in the opinion of the Injury Law Attorney’s atBerman & Tsombanakis LLC, this bill fails to provide any real benefits to the consumer and really just benefits the insurance companies.
Although there certainly are problems with the current PIP laws and significant fraud is occurring on a daily basis, this new legislation fails to adequately address the problems. As we have written on this blog before, action needs to be taken against these legal and medical referral services here in South Florida and statewide. These medical/legal referral services are where most of the fraud starts. With promises (that are never met) of a quick $10,000 in your pocket if you were in an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault. These services will send you to a chiropractor or medical provider of there choosing, who will then treat you and bill your PIP insurance for the full $10,000. Although in many instances, this treatment may be warranted and necessary, other times it is completely unwarranted and just a way for these medical providers to make money. This is were the fraud occurs. The PIP reform legislation does nothing to curb these medical/legal referral services, though it does make a poorly drafted and not well thought out attempt to curb the use and expenditure of the $10,000 of medical services.
One of the main parts of the new law that the Governor and the Legislature believes will reduced this fraud is the provision that cuts off the PIP benefits at $2,500 unless the medical provider certifies that there is a “medical emergency.” Of course, the term “medical emergency” is not adequately defined by the legislation and this will lead to significant and voluminous legislation that will further tie up our already jammed courts.
Victims of automobile accidents with legitimate and serious injuries that are not considered emergencies, will now not get the treatment that they need to heal their injuries. Many very serious and painful injuries occur via automobile accidents that may not be considered medical emergencies, but do require extensive long term treatment that will easily surpass this $2,500 threshold. Thus, many of these victims will either be forced to pay these expenses out of their own pocket if they can afford to do so, or not receive the treatment at all.
As far as the promise of 10% lower insurance premiums for consumers, a closer reading of the new law reveals that the insurance companies are not totally bound to reduce their rates by this 10%. If the insurance company provides a detailed written letter explaining why they will not or cannot lower the rates, they may very well be excused from doing so. That does not sound very consumer friendly to this writer.
We are currently reviewing the full text of the new law in detail and will have further post on some of the other provisions of the bill in the coming weeks.
At the Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Personal Injury Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakis LLC, through the building of personal relationships and working with reputable, ethical, and honest doctors, chiropractors, and other medical providers, we take the extra steps to insure that our clients are receiving only the treatment that is medically necessarily and needed.