Colo. Medical Payment Bill Goes Down to Defeat

February 13, 2006

Legislation to force Colorado consumers to buy medical payment coverage was narrowly defeated Monday on the Colorado House floor.

House Bill 1036, killed by a one-vote margin, would have required insurers to provide $5,000 medical payment coverage unless it was rejected in writing by the consumer. Legislation to mandate medical payment coverage has been debated in the Colorado Legislature every year since the state reverted back to a tort-based automobile insurance system in 2003.

Under the tort system, drivers are given the option to purchase medical payment coverage so that they can decide if it fits their insurance needs. For many consumers medical payments coverage is duplicative of their health care insurance.

Studies reportedly show that 84 percent of Coloradoans already have access to health insurance and this would require them to pay twice for medical coverage – once through their health insurance and a second time through car insurance.

“Defeating this legislation was important because it would have been a first incremental step back toward the old no-fault system, with its high costs and unnecessary coverages,” said Kelly Campbell, regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). “One of the major benefits of the new system is that consumers have choices regarding the coverage they purchase. To mandate a coverage that must be rejected could have been confusing for consumers and led some to think they were legally required to purchase the coverage even if they had health insurance. House Bill 1036 was unnecessary and would have made insurance more expensive for all consumers.”

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