New law changes for insurance holders

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SARASOTA - One of the new state laws taking affect next week is about how a person can use funds from the personal injury protection portion of car insurance.

People with PIP auto insurance will see some major changes in the policy coverage, and its starts with the type of care they are now eligible to receive.

“I feel angered, you should never take away anything that helps someone,” says Massage Therapist Jean Dalton.

Dalton is talking about the changes to the personal injury protection insurance coverage many Floridians have.

On January 1st, those with PIP auto insurance will see some major changes. “It takes away the consumers right to whatever kind of therapy they need, so massage therapy will no longer be paid for by insurance.”

In addition, acupuncture therapy is also being removed from the list of covered items. Local Insurance Agent Florance Conaln says the time people have to file a claim is also being changed. “If you don't file those claims within 14 days you won’t be eligible for any benefits.”

The amount being paid for those claims has also been decreased. “If you have been injured to an extent that you have been taken to an emergency room and you need immediate assistance that would be covered up to 10 thousand dollars but if it’s not an emergency there’s a limitation of only $2,500.”

Conlan says state officials passed the new rules as an effort to curb the number of false insurance claims. “Because of the fraudulent claims and the drastic increase of these claims within the last 5 years or so these changes have to be put in the place to control the payouts in/out policies and the help the people who really need benefits.”

But many people believe the changes to the PIP insurance coverage will hurt those who need that help. “They're going to suffer longer maybe even forever, because if you reduce the opportunity for recovery you reduce your recovery.”

Officials stress the importance of contacting your insurance provider to see how the changes will affect your policy.