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Monday, March 25, 2013

Elimination (REPEAL) of PIP No-Fault Insurance in Florida.

The truth about the elimination (repeal) of PIP insurance in the State of Florida.  Is it a money saver or not?  What is it really about?

Dr. Alan Himmel

First, let me refer you back to an article that I cited a few days ago regarding the cost of No-Fault in the US.

States with the lowest no Fault Premiums

You can look at the chart in the article and look at the top 10 states that for insurance premiums.  I am sure you can find a complete list of all 50 states somewhere on the net.  It's important for everyone to be aware that first and foremost, Florida does not rank even in the top 10 for high insurance cost.  In fact, according to Insure.com, Florida ranks 34th in terms of cost.  This means that there are 33 states with higher insurance rates than Florida.  And, guess what?  The number one state for high cost of insurance is Louisiana, which ironically is not even a No-Fault State.    Louisiana is a state that requires you to sue to get your medical bills paid.  When people are injured as a result of an accident, the person must SUE to get his medical bills paid.  Claims will go before a judge, where if the plaintiff wins, the doctors get paid, the lawyers get paid and of course the injured person gets paid a settlement for pain suffering and injuries.

Is this a good thing?  Well we already established that states that have no first party PIP coverage do not necessarily have lower car insurance costs.  The insurance companies are always citing Colorado as a state that dropped no-fault and premiums went down.  This may be true, buts its also just one state.   It is one single state and probably multiple reasons that this happened.  According to Insure.com, however, the elimination of No-Fault does not guarantee lower rates.  They have the numbers.  I would believe their statistics rather than the information that insurance companies will tell you or politicians who are funded by insurance companies.

If you have not thought much about it, let me lay out a few things that will happen if and when they drop no-fault in Florida.  Of course, lets not forget that Florida ranks NUMBER 2 for the most UNinsured people in the US.  There is only one state that has more uninsured people in the US and that's Texas.  Okay, so you eliminate PIP, which covers hospital emergency care, therapy, diagnostic testing, physical therapy, and chiropractic care.  You now have a situation where medical care is expensive and people are going to have to make a choice between paying their electric bill and getting proper medical treatment for injuries.  If they do decide to get medical care, they will have to SUE to get the bills paid, which means expensive court  time and potentially even larger payouts by insurance companies.

The lost wage benefit will be eliminated if PIP is eliminated.  People who are injured and cannot work are entitled to lost wage coverage under the current No-Fault system.  That will be gone.  People will have to sue for this also.

How about folks that are injured and there is no person to sue?  What if YOU crash into someone and hurt yourself?  Who is going to pay your medical bills (and lost wages) if you are at fault?  You can't sue yourself.  So, these people also, will have no medical care for injuries.  If this person goes to the hospital and has a large medical bill,and he has no insurance or no recourse against an at fault driver, then he gets stuck with a bill that he cannot pay.  He will first be put in collections, his credit will suffer, and eventually he may file bankruptcy.  This sounds like good stuff, huh?

What about children who are in a vehicle and are injured?  They will have to go through the same nightmare, if the at fault driver is the child's parent.  No insurance.  No medical treatment.  If the parent chooses medical care, they will likely never pay the bill.

So, there is something fishy going on here.  Notice Rick Scott at first did not push to eliminate PIP last year.  He purposely made sure that the hospitals (we know his affiliation with the hospitals) were taken care of.  They are practically automatically entitled to the full $10,000 if a patient comes in due to an emergency.  Insurance companies will have a hard time fighting the $10k, if a person presents to an emergency room, if the doctor at the ER states the patient is suffering an emergency medical condition.

So, is it about the money?  What is it?  What do you think is likely to happen in Florida?  Another tweak of PIP or the total elimination?