I saw an interesting story last week about the State of New York’s response to allegations of fraudulent billing related to the state’s no-fault automobile insurance system. At the end of last week, the Governor’s office released a list of 18 medical doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, and others who have been banned from seeking payment from no-fault automobile insurers due to allegations of false billing, excessive treatment, and other violations. For those that don’t know, New York and Florida are a couple of the last remaining states that have a no-fault automobile insurance system. In Florida, the coverage is called Personal Injury Protection (or PIP). In either state, drivers involved in automobile accidents are entitled to have their medical expenses paid by their own no-fault coverage, regardless of who was responsible for causing the crash that caused the injuries. Florida automobile owners have several reasons to wish they lived in New York when it comes to no-fault coverage. First, New York features a $50,000 benefit to drivers. This is probably more than enough coverage for car accident victims to get the treatment and diagnostics like MRI’s or CT scans necessary to properly diagnose an injury after a typical car accident. In Florida, under a new law passed last year, the maximum benefit is $10,000, but might be as low as $2,500 or zero, depending upon when the injuries are reported and/or the severity of the injuries reported. The $10,000 maximum coverage limit has been in place since 1973, and obviously has not kept pace with the soaring cost of healthcare in this country. Nevertheless, the Florida Legislature and the insurance companies that write automobile policies in Florida have long resisted efforts to increase the coverage limits. Second, New York has taken a much more fair, responsible, and consumer-friendly approach to alleged medical fraud than Florida has. In New York, the doctors committing the fraud have been punished. They have been banned from receiving no-fault benefits, and in some instances have been criminally charged. In Florida, it is innocent consumers have been largely punished. In 2012, the Florida Legislature passed sweeping legislation that drastically reduced (or eliminated) PIP benefits to many Florida accident victims – even those who did nothing wrong, were not involved in fraud, and were seeing doctors who had nothing to do with fraud. (I wrote a Special Report about these draconian changes which you can download for free by clicking here.) As an automobile insurance customer, which state would you rather live in? Questions following a Florida car accident? Call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901, or download a copy of Kim’s FREE book, Asleep At the Wheel: 13 Mistakes the Insurance Company Desperately Hopes You’ll Make After Your Florida Car Accident by clicking...Read More »
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