Summary of Items in State Budget that Will Affect Your Practice
 
Below is the list of changes in the state budget that will affect WAJ members and your clients. and  (The budget act, Act 28, is available online at http://www.legis.state.wi.us/. It is on the right side and designated, “2009 Budget Bill as vetoed (Act 28)” The sections and page numbers are listed after each provision, so you can find the provisions online.)
 
Truth in Auto Insurance Provisions
  1. Increase Minimum Automobile Liability Coverage: Jan. 2010 – $50,000/$100,000/$15,000 and subject to a CPI review every 5 years beginning in 2017. (Section 2962t, page 556) The Governor did veto the liability rate increases that were to be phased in years 2 and 3.
  2. UIM will be a required mandatory coverage. (Section 3161, page 590)
  3. Increase in UM/UIM minimum coverage to $100,000/$300,000 per policy. (Sections 3159 & 3161, page 590)
  4. Defines UIM coverage by comparing the negligent driver’s liability insurance limit with the amount of damages (or injuries) actually sustained by the policyholder. (Section 3153, page 590)
  5. Elimination of reducing clauses: Insurance companies will no longer be able to deduct the amount of insurance carried by a negligent driver from the uninsured/underinsured coverage purchased by the injured policyholder. This change will make sure injured drivers/passengers can access the full amount of insurance they have paid for when they need it. (Section 3171, page 592)
  6. Prohibits anti-stacking provisions in automobile policies, except the policy may limit the number of vehicles covered up to three (3). (Sections 3168 and 3169, page 591)
  7. Umbrella Coverage: Requires that the policyholder reject in writing the offer of UM/UIM coverage for umbrella or excess liability policies. (Section 3167, page 591)
  8. Hit and run claims: Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage for hit and run accidents because no physical contact occurred. Now with independent third party verification drivers who are injured will have access to UM coverage. (Section 3155, page 590)
  9. Prohibits a health insurance plan from not providing coverage on the basis there is coverage under a liability insurance policy. (Section 3197, page 595)
  10. The Governor did veto the “drive other car” exclusion provision. (Section 3172, page 592)
Effective Date: The changes will first apply to motor vehicle insurance policies that are issued or renewed on the first day of the 5th month after publication. Publication is July 1, 2009. (Section 9326(6), page 680 and Section 9426(2) on page 688)
 
Health Care Copying Costs:
 
Statutory Limits on Medical Record Copying: Sets the rates in the statute.
  1. For paper copies, 35 cents per page.
  2. For microfiche or microfilm copies, $1.25 per page.
  3. For a print of an X-ray, $10 per image.
  4. For certification of copies, $5.
  5. For processing and handling, a single $15 charge for all copies requested.
  6. Actual shipping costs. (Section 2433e, page 489)
If a patient is requesting his or her own medical records, there is no processing or handling fee. (Section 2433d, page 489) In addition, if your client is medically indigent, they are entitled to one free copy of their medical records. (Section 2433d(d)2, page 489)
 
NOTE: One provision concerning the cost of requesting electronic records was vetoed. Because we are not sure of that implication, the WAJ office is recommending that attorneys request paper copies of all medical records at this time. (Section 2433d(lf)(c)3m, page 489)
 
In addition, under Wis. Stat. 908.03 (6m) the definition of health care providers was broadened to include all health care providers under 146.81(1) and the billing statements and invoices are presumed to state the reasonable value of health care services provided and are presumed reasonable and necessary to the care of the patient. (Section3285gb, pages 614-15)
 
Effective Date: These provisions go into effect on July 1, 2009. (Section 9322(9c), page 680 and Section 9400, page 685)
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