Medical costs to be cut in NJ auto insurance


Medical costs to be cut in NJ auto insuranceAuto insurance rules are likely to be revamped if everything goes as per the proposals made on Monday in Governor Chris Christie’s administration. They claim that it will help in controlling auto insurance costs, if the medical costs for those injured in accidents are curtailed.

A number of revisions to the PIP system in the state will change the fees that are paid to some of the same-day surgery centers and will also bring down the costs that are associated with alternative therapies such as chiropractors and the rest. It will also help in clamping down on the attorney’s fees in these arbitration cases. The fees for medical procedures will go up by 75% and 3,000 codes have been added now. Supporters claim that the billing process would be simplified and that would help in speeding up the repayment process to the doctors. This will also help in reducing disputes.

The DOBI or Department of Banking and Insurance spokesman, Marshall McKnight has stated that there has been a steady growth in the number of rate increases in auto insurance. Around 97% of the requested hikes are on account of PIP costs, he stated. He added that a number of physicians received higher fees; however the new system would help in containing costs as the fees would become much clearer and the caps would be difficult to avoid.

The aim is to control the spiraling PIP costs and to help in reversing the pressure and thereby bring down PIP rates in auto insurance, stated McKnight.

McKnight also stated that costs were rising at an alarming rate since several years now and that is part of the fees that is charged. When the 1,000 codes were set in 2007, most people simply avoided those procedures and instead new procedures were used – procedures that didn’t have codes. This was the reason for the price rise, stated McKnight. He also added that the state was closing all the loopholes by making these additions to the existing codes.

As per the proposed rules, the state would be allowed to reject the use of any of the diagnostic tests as well as practices which are not from evidence-based clinical guidelines that are published in the peer-reviewed journals. The state claims that it has become increasingly aware of such procedures and tests that are supported only by anecdotal evidence and wishes to block that. The expanded fee schedule will have reasonable fees now.