The law that reforms the no-fault car insurance system doesn't go into effect for six more weeks, but that hasn't quieted down critics who say a technical error in the bill could create legal headaches for medical providers.
Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, is the latest to add his voice to the topic, penning a letter to Gov. Rick Scott pointing out the "numerous errors" in HB 119. Much of Kriseman's letter discusses a technical glitch in the bill's language that gives two separate dates for when certain provisions regarding medical clinics covered under PIP goes into effect.
Critics say the result of this glitch is that for six months, from July 1 to Dec. 31, many hospitals and medical clinics won't be legally able to submit claims under PIP. As a result, insurers could use the gap as justification to deny claims, they say.
The Agency for Health Care Administration issued a memo this month in hopes of clarifying the topic and reassuring both medical providers and policyholders. Meanwhile, insurers have said they won't use the technical glitch to their advantage.
The PIP reform measures approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor are intended to reduce litigation and fraud and, hopefully, the cost of personal injury protection, which has driven up insurance rates. But many provisions of the law are untested and seemingly headed to the courts to clear up gray areas.
However, Kriseman, an attorney, and others are voicing concerns. In his letter, he asks Scott to provide clarity to insurance companies and medical providers about the law.
"As the majority of this legislation becomes effective in less than two months, your timely and prompt response to this inquiry would be greatly appreciated," he wrote.