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New Year, New Laws

The state of Florida rang in the New Year, and some new laws that took effect Jan. 1.

Among the new legislation is a 12 cents increase in minimum wage. Under a 2004 constitutional amendment, Florida's minimum wage is recalculated every year and adjusted for inflation. Currently, there are 210,000 minimum wage workers across the state, and Florida is just one of ten states increasing their rate.

Changes to Florida's no-fault auto insurance law also go into effect in 2013. No-fault is also known as personal injury protection. It pays for medical treatment necessary following an auto accident no matter who is at fault for the crash. The changes in the law state that in order for a treatment to be covered under the Personal Injury Protection system, it must be sought within 14 days of the crash. For emergency medical condition, the full $10,000 medical benefit in Personal Injury Protection is available. If treatment is not sought within the two week period, the personal injury benefits are limited to $2,500.

On non-emergency treatment the benefit limit is $2,500, and the new law limits the types of treatments covered. Massage therapy, chiropractic medicine and acupuncture are no longer covered under PIP coverage. Changes in the law are aimed at curbing the rise in insurance claims and insurance premiums associated with insurance fraud.However, the changes can make it more difficult for drivers injured on Florida roadways to get the compensation they deserve.

Other new legislation starting in 2013 include increases in Citizens Property Insurance rates, increases in reimbursement rates for primary care doctors for services via Medicaid and new laws for handling food and the inspection process.

For more information, please contact us.

Source: Daily Business Review, "New laws affecting Sunshine state take hold in 2012," Jan. 2, 2013.

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