Rapidly escalating auto injury claim costs might be forcing auto insurers to more closely scrutinize and negotiate hospital bills prior to payment. According to a new study from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), the rising cost of claims can be attributed to low reimbursements from public health insurance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.

The IRC study, “Hospital Cost Shifting and Auto Injury Insurance Claims,” is based on data from more than 42,000 auto injury claims closed with payment under the five principal private passenger coverages. Twenty-two insurers, representing 58% of the private passenger auto insurance market in the Unites Sates in 2006, participated in the study. The IRC closed claim study collected detailed data on injury, medical treatment, claimed losses and total payments, claim handling techniques and attorney involvement.

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