Advocacy Groups Urge Passage of Florida Senate Personal Injury Protection Reform Legislation
Feb 16, 2012
Several advocacy groups held a press conference today, February 16, 2012, in support of SB 1860 relating to Motor Vehicle Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) Insurance by Senator Joe Negron.
Organizations attending the press conference included the Florida Consumer Action Network, Florida Medical Association, Florida Justice Association, Florida Chiropractic Association, Florida CHAIN, Florida Public Interest Research Group and Florida Osteopathic Medical Association.
According to speakers at today’s press conference, SB 1860 would tighten regulations on medical providers and provide law enforcement the tools needed to address PIP fraud and crack down on bad actors by imposing harsher penalties. The bill also would create a strike force to support the prosecution, investigation and prevention of fraud. In addition, SB 1860 would close a loophole that has led to a proliferation of unlicensed, non-physician clinics that seems to correlate with the increased number of reported PIP fraud cases in the last five years. If passed, the fraud prevention measures in the bill are expected to reduce costs of PIP coverage by up to $125 million a year.
Paul Jess of the Florida Justice Association said that insurance companies have written the House companion bill, HB 119, in their favor so they can charge high premiums and not pay for benefits. He also stated that by limiting PIP coverage under the guise of fraud prevention and consumer protection, insurance companies are pulling the wool over the eyes of Florida drivers.
It was discussed that HB 119 by State Representative Jim Boyd would void true fraud prevention and enforcement measures. The bill also would limit auto accident victims’ options for treatment, severely reduce the window of time in which they must seek care, and strip consumers of their right to choose their medical provider.
Bill Newton, Executive Director of the Florida Consumer Action Network, stated that Floridians who pay for insurance coverage deserve more than a chain that binds them to government mandates for healthcare and treatment time limits, all so insurance companies can line their pockets with greater profits.
SB 1860 is currently in the Senate Committee on Budget, after being passed as a Committee Substitute by the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance on February 2.
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