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"
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
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