After a three-month break, effective January 1, 2008, Florida returned to a no-fault system and again mandated that Florida drivers carry personal injury protection (“PIP”) coverage. PIP coverage pays the first $10,000 of medical costs for injuries related to automobile accidents, regardless of who was at fault.
As reported here and here, in 2003 the Florida legislature passed an amended version of the no-fault statute providing, among other things, that the statute would sunset on October 1, 2007. That amendment and the statute’s sunset resulted from insurers’ contentions that Florida’s no-fault system had become fraught with fraud. Insurers complained of “staged” accidents that permitted people to obtain “treatment” from shell health care providers, which “treated” non-existent injuries and received reimbursement for such “treatments” under PIP.
During the special legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill on October 5, 2007 that restored the no-fault system, but contained several provisions designed to reduce fraud. Under the new system, payments under PIP coverage can be made only for treatments that are provided, ordered or prescribed by state licensed medical care providers. Further, the legislation sets limits on fees for certain medical services.