Florida’s new PIP Law took effect January 1, 2013.

The Florida Legislature has enacted a new PIP Statute which severely limits your rights to obtain your benefits under your PIP insurance.

First, a quick definition of what PIP or Personal Injury Protection is in the State of Florida:

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance is a required insurance under all car insurance policies in Florida. This covers 80% of any medical bills up to $10,000.00; 60% of loss wages and also provides a $10,000.00 death benefit. Florida first enacted what is known as the PIP Statute in 1971 as a way of guaranteeing to individuals that their medical bills, whether they are at fault for the crash or not, get paid. In exchange for that guaranteed payment, the Legislature enacted a restriction on lawsuits that would only allow individuals to seek non-economic damages (pain and suffering) if they received a permanent injury. This Law did not and has not affected somebody’s ability to recover economic damages, which are loss wages, medical bills and loss of support and services.

Starting January 1, 2013, the initial treatment must be obtained within fourteen (14) days from the accident.
That “initial services” and care must be lawfully provided, supervised, ordered, or prescribed by a licensed physician, D.O. (Doctor of Osteopath), Dentist or Chiropractic Physicians or provided in a hospital or in a facility that owns or is wholly owned by a hospital.

If the thresholds are met, there are two levels of PIP medical benefits: 1) $10,000 for an emergency medical condition and 2) $2,500.00 for treatment that is not for any initially diagnosed emergency medical condition.

Massage therapy and Acupuncture are not reimbursable under the new PIP Statute. So, these types of treatment will either have to be paid for out of pocket, under a letter of protection, or by health insurance. Doctors will generally treat injured people under a letter of protection for services not covered by PIP. A letter of protection is basically an agreement by the medical provider to forego collection of the medical bill until the lawsuit is resolved. In return for that, the attorney is basically agreeing that the medical care provider will get paid out of the proceeds of the recovery.

“The bill applies two different coverage limits for PIP medical benefits, based upon the severity of the medical condition of the individual. An individual may receive up to $10,000 in medical benefits for services and care if a physician, osteopathic physician, dentist, physician’s assistant or advanced registered nurse practitioner has determined that the injured person had an emergency medical condition. An emergency medical condition is defined as a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of a body organ or part. An individual who is not diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, the PIP medical benefit limit is $2,500. Massage and acupuncture are not reimbursable, regardless of who the type of provider rendering such services.”
(Source: http://flsenate.gov/Committees/billsummaries/2012/html/215 )

Be safe out there.