N.J. Amends 25% of PIP Reform Proposals, Reflecting Public Comments

By | January 25, 2012

New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance has amended some 25 percent of its personal injury protection (PIP) rule proposals, after reviewing and incorporating recommendations from a mountain of public comment letters it has received.

The department said last week its PIP reform proposals had garnered more than 18,000 public comments. “The comment period and review process worked well, as it was intended,” New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance spokesman Marshall McKnight told Insurance Journal.

The department’s 200-page-plus proposed changes aim to close loopholes that are being exploited by some providers, and cap PIP expenses and control the rising medical costs that insurers pay for auto accident victims. In addition to reviewing public comments, the department also received input from various parties during a heated State Assembly hearing last October.

Another Public Comment Period

The new, amended portions of the proposals will be published for another, 60-day public comment period starting Feb. 21, the department said last week.

The new amendments being proposed only affect some 25 percent of the proposals made by the department last August.

“The department’s comment period accomplished what it was meant to do; it produced meaningful feedback from stakeholders and affected parties which we were able to use to clarify and make improvements on our original PIP proposal,” said Department Commissioner Tom Considine.

“The changes included in the notice represent only a small portion of what we proposed in August and we continue to move forward with the reform. This is a significant step forward in the PIP reform process.”

New Amendments examine several issues, including:

• Creation of a new Hospital Outpatient Surgical Facility (HOSF) fee schedule that is separate from the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) facility fee schedule

• Amendments of the ASC facility fee schedule fees to eliminate an over-reimbursement for implantable devices that are included in the fees

• Deletion of 117 fees from the physician’s fee schedule for spinal and neurosurgical procedures to allow for further study due to their infrequency and availability of coverage

• Deletion of references to workers’ compensation managed care organizations from the PIP protocols rule, and removal of post-employment restriction on Dispute Relation Professionals (DRP’s).

Other technical and minor changes are also being proposed. The notice will be published in the Feb. 21, 2012 edition of the New Jersey Register, and will have a 60-day comment period that ends April 21, 2012.

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