Voting mainly along party lines, the House approved its attempt to reform Florida's no-fault auto insurance program.
Several changes during the committee process made HB 119 more palatable to critics than the original version, which would have required people injured in an auto accident to seek treatment in an emergency room within 72 hours of a crash. The final version allows the injured up to seven days to seek treatment at a variety of health care providers as long as the initial visit doesn’t cost more than $2,500.
In addition, the House’s version of personal injury protection, or PIP, reform requires insurers to file new rates to reflect the cost savings resulting from the changes; restricts chiropractors from participating in the program; caps attorney fees in individual disputes, but not class action suits; and allows insurance companies to examine policyholders, but not doctors, under oath to determine the facts of a case.
During floor debate, House members applauded Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, for leading the chamber’s efforts to reform the no-fault car insurance system. Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, said the legislation will help eradicate the “organized crime and worthless back rubs” that drive up car insurance costs.