Statement By: Bill Newton, Executive Director, Florida Consumer Action Network Regarding the Signage of HB 119
“As a constant advocate for consumers in Florida, the Florida Consumer Action Network has watched many legislative sessions come and go without meaningful PIP reform. Today, as the Governor signs the final bills of the 2012 session, it appears another year will pass without real PIP reform to protect consumers.
While the Governor signed HB 119 – and called it a PIP reform package – the consumers of our state are unlikely to see any relief, but they will lose benefits. HB 119 will allow insurance companies to reduce benefits by using arduous restrictions on consumers – and there’s no guarantee consumers’ premiums will decrease. If an accident victim isn’t treated for an ‘emergency medical condition’ at a hospital, then the victim’s $10,000 coverage will be reduced to $2,500, and the limited coverage will only be available for two weeks after an accident. He says this will magically reduce fraud, but it is hard to see how it works.
In fact, accident injury costs will shift to health insurance premiums and indigent care programs, while auto insurance companies pay less in claims. It is possible consumers will pay more, not less, because of this bill.
Today’s signing of HB 119 is not a victory for consumers, although it is a political victory for Gov. Scott. This law shifts the burden of accidents to the victims, limits consumer choices, and leaves insurance companies with more ways to avoid paying legitimate claims. HB 119 leaves you asking: who are the real fraudsters?”
CONTACT: Bill Newton