Colorado Emergency Medical Payments Coverage Bill Killed in Committee

March 13, 2006

Legislation forcing Colorado drivers to purchase additional emergency medical insurance coverage as part of their auto insurance policies was defeated in the state’s Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of 6-3.

Senate Bill 19 would have required drivers to purchase $40,000 worth of coverage to pay for all accident related emergency care, although many people may already have coverage under their current auto insurance or health care plans, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. Consumers would have seen their insurance rates skyrocket by as much as several hundred dollars a year, the association said.

With the defeat of Senate Bill 19, Colorado consumers will continue to have a choice as to the type of auto insurance they want, need and can afford. said Kelly Campbell, PCI western regional manager. “This type of legislation, which leaves consumers with no choices of coverage and higher rates, would have sent Colorado back down the slippery slope of no-fault auto insurance.”

An alternative proposal by Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, is expected to be introduced this week, PCI said. Sen. Hagedorn’s bill is expected to create a state trauma fund from emission fees on motor vehicle registrations. The fund would pay for trauma services and a funding mechanism for cash-strapped entities such as rural ambulance services. Those small, but important services, became dependent on no-fault auto insurance’s benefits to subsidize their operation, PCI said. The challenge faced by first responders is a national, multi-faceted problem. The proposal would help alleviate some of the pressure without putting it on the back of auto insurance consumers.

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