PIP overhaul looks like a longshotby John Kennedy | February 24th, 2012
The Legislature’s latest bid to revamp personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance looks like it could collapse amid the same intra-industry squabbles that killed previous efforts over much of the past decade.
Gov. Rick Scott is an ardent advocate for reform — tucking the demand for action into his State of the State address in January.
Now, Capitol hall talk is swirling about the idea of a special session on the subject –that amounts to a rhetorical surrender on the idea of any deal being reached before the Legislature’s scheduled March 9 finish.
But House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, said Friday that a special session isn’t part of his plans. Prospects for consensus also looks tough, he conceded.
“I don’t know whether we’ll be able to bring the House and Senate positions together before the end of session,” Cannon said. “But I’m not contemplating a special session on the issue.”
Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, whose district includes parts of northern Palm Beach County, is sponsoring a bill (SB 1860) that would enact a series of reforms, including implementing medical fee schedules, licensing medical clinics that provide personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, and requiring insurers to promptly pay claims.
Negron says his approach is closest to that pitched by Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who are pushing hard to rid the system of fraudulent claims and shady clinics who operate to draw on the $10,000 insurance coverage every Florida motorist is supposed to carry.
The House proposal (CS/HB 119) by Rep. John Boyd, R-Bradenton, would scrap the state’s PIP law, replacing it with a proposed emergency care insurance that maintains the $10,000 medical coverage, but would require all accident victims to be treated in emergency rooms or by their personal physicians — not clinics — within 72 hours.
Massage therapists, accupuncturists and chiropractors would be from receiving PIP payments for medical treatments, under the House proposal.
The two sides are also split over attorneys fees.