Auto insurers would have to pay ambulance and emergency room bills in car accidents, under a measure backed by a Colorado Senate panel.
Officials for hospitals and ambulance services said someone needs to help them pay for people who don’t have health insurance or don’t have enough coverage to pay for their care.
Insurance industry representatives said making them pay would raise rates for an average 50-year-old driver with a good record by $170 a year and for a 24-year-old by $433.
That was slightly lower than previous estimates, because senators voted to cap coverage at $40,000 per person.
The measure will now be voted on by the full Senate.
Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, said he may introduce an alternative requiring voters to pay an extra $10 on their annual car registration renewals, with the money going to ambulance services and emergency rooms.
He said he would do that only if the state also abandons environmental testing for cars, which costs drivers $25.
Under the state’s former no-fault insurance system, insurers paid for medical bills from car accidents. That responsibility switched to health insurers when the state changed to a tort automobile insurance system three years ago.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.