Sacbee.com is reporting that the Florida PIP insurance reform law that was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor this year has been met growing criticism that benefits and payouts will be reduced. Under the new law services such as acupuncture and massage therapy will no longer be covered. Critics maintain that the new law favors the insurance industry and will negatively impact an insured’s right to seek medical treatment. Florida’s Governor and the insurance companies claim the amendments will reduce fraud and lower the cost of insurance for Florida residents.
In addition to the elimination of covered therapies, the law limits the time for seeking treatment after an accident to 14 days. Florida’s Governor and his allies claim that fraudulent insurance claims have led to a $1.4 billion increase in personal injury protection (PIP) costs over the last four years.
The new law caps the PIP benefit at $2,500 unless an “emergency medical condition” is declared by a qualifying medical care provider or practitioner. Many PIP suits in my opinion will be filed over what constitutes an “emergency” and critics are already claiming the statute’s definition of an emergency condition is vague.
Physical therapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists maintain that victims of car accidents will not receive appropriate treatment after an accident, which could lead to long term ailments. The insurance industry and the Governor claim the PIP benefit was being misused and the new legislation will assist those with immediate needs after an auto accident while liability coverage should be used to address other injuries.