S. 8294-A(Marcellino)/A. 10000(Bonacic)

No Fault, DUI Exclusion

Summary: The bill amends Section 5103 (b) of the Insurance Law to provide that no-fault insurers may not exclude coverage for basic economic loss for services rendered as the result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The bill also provides the no-fault insurer with a cause of action against the insured in circumstance where the insured is guilty of violating Section 1192 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law.

Effective Date: One hundred eighty days after enactment, applicable to policies issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after such date.

Last Action: Vetoed by the Governor on September 25, 2008 (Veto Memo #170).

VETO MESSAGE - No. 170

TO THE SENATE:

I am returning herewith, without my approval, the following bill:

Senate Bill Number 8294-A, entitled:

"AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to entitlement to

first party benefits"

NOT APPROVED

Under the Public Health Law and the federal Emergency Medical Treat-

ment and Active Labor Act, health services providers are required to

provide emergency medical services to persons in need of such care. The

Insurance Law, however, permits no fault insurers to deny coverage where

the insured person is injured while operating a vehicle in an intoxicat-

ed state. As a result, health services providers are sometimes not

compensated for services they are required to render to stabilize their

patients.

To prevent this inequity, this bill would amend the Insurance Law to

prohibit insurers from excluding from no-fault coverage a covered person

who is injured while operating a motor vehicle in an intoxicated state

or while impaired by a drug. This would help ensure that health services

providers are compensated for the emergency services they render to an

impaired driver. In order to protect insurers, the bill would provide

the insurers with a right of recovery from the insured.

  It is fundamental that health service providers should be compensated

for the life saving services they provide to their patients. However,

this bill is extremely expansive in scope and requires no fault insurers

to provide coverage for far more than just emergency care. Indeed, the

bill would require no fault insurers to reimburse a health service

provider for all health-related services - including, pharmaceutical,

therapeutic, surgical, rehabilitative and diagnostic - not merely until

the patient is stabilized, but until the $50,000 no fault limit is

exhausted. This would go well beyond the stated purpose of the bill, and

the costs of providing such care would result in higher automobile

insurance rates for the public.

However, because I believe that this bill's goals are sound, I have

instructed my staff to work with the Legislature, the health services

provider groups, and the insurance industry to investigate this issue

further and to help enact a new bill that accomplishes the intended

purpose of this bill in a manner that will protect the interests of the

health services providers, injured patients and the public.

The bill is disapproved.                 (signed) DAVID A. PATERSON