The Florida Legislature adjourned last month without resolving the problem of mandatory personal injury insurance for motorists–PIP. For people injured in car crashes who do not have health insurance, PIP is the only source of money to compensate emergency rooms and doctors for the care they must provide. Florida’s 35-year-old PIP statute is set to expire in October unless something is done in the special session to begin in June.
PIP has some problems. Although insurance companies argue it is full of fraud, the alternative without PIP is worse. Those problems with fraud can be fixed without doing away with PIP. Driving is dangerous and sends injured people to medical providers for treatment. If PIP is allowed to expire, medical providers stand to lose $350 million in insurance to pay for necessary medical treatment.
Allowing PIP to expire will only shift the risk of paying for medical treatment from the insurance companies to others: state and federal government programs, private health insurance and the injured person. This comes at a time when state and federal government aid programs are being cut or eliminated and where many drivers do not have any other health insurance.
We should urge our leaders in Tallahassee to save PIP by:
1. Put PIP on the agenda of the special session next month and simply extend the program as is for another year.
2. Create a PIP reform task force–including legislative leaders–that will be required to propose fixes for the no-fault system, fixes the leadership will be committed to. Then, maybe next year, the momentum will be there to salvage this valuable system, or some reasonable alternative to it