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Florida’s largest automobile insurer, State Farm, has sued the state’s largest hospital corporation, Florida Hospital, alleging excessive and unreasonable billing to automobile accident victims. The suit claims Florida Hospital marks up its charges by 225% to 1000% to automobile accident victims, causing State Farm to pay excessive medical charges for its policyholders under its autmobile no-fault coverage required in Florida, which for many years has required companies to issue policies with $ 10,000 in coverage for medical bills and lost wages caused by auto accidents.
The real story behind this headline is the war that some insurers will be waging this year over the sunset, or expiration, of the no fault law. State Farm does not want this law renewed and wants injured victims to be required to rely on their own health insurance or the liability coverage of the driver at fault. The problem with that is that a huge percentage of drivers carry little or no liability insurance, and many citizens of Florida have no health insurance coverage or poor coverage. This could leave the taxpayers and Medicaid system footing the bill for large numbers of accident victims. Another story behind this headline is that hospitals are coming under increasing attack nationwide for charging uninsured patients far more than they charge the insurance companies who insure those fortunate enough to have health insurance.
State Farm insures 3 million cars in Florida. Florida Hospital is the state’s largest hospital chain and runs approximately 30 facilites statewide. The public should follow this battle of the gargantuan and politically powerful companies closely. If the no fault law is allowed to expire, the legislature must require all drivers to carry certain minimum levels of liability insurance coverage and mandatory uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to protect the citizens of Florida and the public from injuries caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers.