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Without Mandatory PIP Insurance for Just Four Days, the Florida Legislature Agreed on a Compromise Bill it has Forward to Gov. Crist’s Office

Florida’s no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance had a short shelf life – 96 hours to be exact.

New PIP Bill Awaits Crist’s Signature

The state house and senate chambers agreed on a compromise bill to reinstate the no-fault motorists’ coverage. The bill has been sent to the governor’s office for signature. Not all of Florida’s 16 million drivers will be protected with the stroke of Gov. Charlie Crist’s pen. Some will have to wait until January 1 for the “new” PIP to become law.

“Florida is a better place because of this legislation,” Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie said of the new legislation, which replaces the 36-year old PIP, which expired October 1.

On January 1, 2008 Florida law will state that motorists must carry PIP insurance. The new PIP law pays 80 percent of medical costs up to $10,000 , the same as the expired PIP. Drivers also will have a choice of deductibles.

New Proposal Comes With Changes

Changes in PIP coverage are: 1) hospital fees are capped at 75 percent of what are called “customary” charges; 2) most other medical charges are capped at 200 percent of Medicare reimbursement; 3) insurers must earmark $5,000 per claim for emergency room physician fees or in-hospital care and 4) a death benefit is set at the lesser of $5,000 per claim or the remainder of PIP benefits, reports, a division of the Scripps Newspaper Group.

“The new bill will not allow a consumer to easily exploit an insurance company and it won’t allow an insurance company to exploit a consumer,” Senate sponsor Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, told the session. “I think that was the balance you were looking for.”

Not so, according to Allison North Jones of the Floridians for Lower Insurance Costs. “Today, lawmakers scrapped the opportunity for drivers to get some relief on their auto insurance and instead opted to revive a costly, mandatory no-fault auto insurance system with limited reforms.”

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