A federal court in Kentucky ruled the state’s anti-solicitation law unconstitutional last year. In response, anti-fraud community helped enact a new solicitation law this year that satisfies the court’s concerns.
The legislature overwhelmingly approved the fix.
Soliciting crash victims for potentially worthless medical treatment thus took a hit. The new law strictly limits soliciting of drivers and passengers for 30 days after the crash. It also blocks insurance payments to providers who violate the law, and protects consumers from making forbidden payments.
The law serves a timely purpose. Fraud rings are moving into Kentucky — some from Florida to escape ramped-up heat by law enforcement. They’re trying to lure often-traumatized crash victims for treatment at shady clinics that lodge inflated insurance billings for useless treatment.
Problem fixed, right? Wrong. Several chiropractors didn’t even wait for the law’s June 24 effective date.
They sued in federal court, saying the new law violates the First Amendment and due process. A hearing on an injunction to stop enforcement of the law is scheduled for late August.
Just hours before the Kentucky suit was filed, the Texas governor signed a new law restricting access to its crash reports. Much like Kentucky, the law aims to prevent insurance criminals from hounding crash victims to get injury treatment at shady clinics.
Only crash victims, their reps (insurers, medical providers, attorneys) and reporters now can obtain the full crash report. Anyone can buy the reports. Except that the personal information is redacted for outsiders, so the reports lose all value to fraudsters.
Kentucky’s new law builds on another initiative in Texas. After surviving court challenges, the state started enforcing a law restricting solicitation of auto crash victims for the first month after a crash. Fraud rings started moving out of Texas when the enforcement heat rose. They’re moving into other states like Kentucky, which the rings perceive as softer enforcement environments.
So fraud fighters must stop the Kentucky lawsuit. Success by the chiros could embolden challenges to anti-soliciting laws in other states such as Texas.
The Coalition already has sent the Kentucky attorney general info that will help derail the suit. We also plan to team with partners to file friend-of-the-court briefs that provide strong legal support.
The new law keeping criminals from recruiting crash victims is a constitutionally sound idea that limits dishonest activity and protects crash victims from being victimized yet again.
About the author: Howard Goldblatt is director of government affairs for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.