The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) said it will oppose a Colorado bill that would mandate emergency medical care coverage because it will increase the number of uninsured drivers, increase rates, and adversely impact low-income consumers.
SB 19, Concerning a Requirement that Emergency Medical Care Coverage be Included in Automobile Insurance Policy, would require consumers to purchase emergency medical care coverage as part of their state-mandated insurance coverages.
“NAMIC plans to oppose this legislation because it would force insurance consumers to purchase unnecessary and duplicative medical insurance coverage for emergency medical services and trauma care treatment that are already covered by most consumers’ health insurance policy,” stated NAMIC’s Western State Affairs Manager, Christian John Rataj.
“This special-interest legislation is really just an attempt to backdoor some PIP-like benefits into the current tort system for the benefit of medical practitioners and to the detriment of insurance consumers,” Rataj said. “Why should insurance consumers, who are already paying health insurance premiums for medical coverage that will provide them with benefits regardless of the cause of the injury, also be forced to purchase medical care coverage that will only pay for auto-accident related medical injuries?
“The Interim Auto Insurance Committee heard extensive testimony from members of the insurance industry and from the Commissioner of Insurance supporting the conclusion that insurance premiums have significantly decreased as a result of the change from a PIP/No-Fault auto insurance system to a tort-based system,” stated Rataj. “Insurance industry studies of rate filings with the Colorado Division of Insurance clearly demonstrate that insurance rates have dropped anywhere between 17 to 39 percent for various coverages as a result of removing the state mandate that auto insurance consumers must purchase medical coverage as part of their compulsory insurance coverages.
“SB 19 will create an economic burden for all insurance consumers, but especially low income consumers who will be confronted with a ‘Hobson’s choice’ of either purchasing an additional auto insurance coverage that they can’t afford and which may prevent them from having the resources necessary to purchase health insurance coverage or risk being in violation of the state’s financial responsibility/compulsory insurance law,” asserted Rataj.
Twelve percent of the Colorado motorists do not have insurance coverage, according to state officials.
“Mandating a new and unnecessary coverage that could be fairly expensive is likely to increase the number of uninsured drivers in the state, which will create an additional burden on law enforcement departments and the legal system, and increase the cost of insurance coverages for all consumers,” Rataj argued.
SB 19 can be read at http://www.namic.org/pdf/060111ColoSB19.pdf
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