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Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco. Ed enjoys sports of all kinds and is a part time stand-up comedian.

 

He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

Wednesday, 08 June 2022 09:55

Massachusetts Auto Body Shops Fight for Better Reimbursement Rates

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A vocal group of more than 60 people gathered outside the Massachusetts State House to demand action on two proposed bills currently before lawmakers. A vocal group of more than 60 people gathered outside the Massachusetts State House to demand action on two proposed bills currently before lawmakers. Photo courtesy of AASP-MA

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Collision repair industry leaders, along with a row of tow trucks, paraded outside the Massachusetts State House on May 18 to demand action on two proposed bills before lawmakers that would raise the state's lowest-in-the-nation reimbursement rates.

House Bill 1111 and State Bill 709 are an “Act to establish a minimum reimbursement rate to insurance claimants" and are currently being argued in a joint committee.

 

According to supporters, both bills would set the rate for repair at approximately $78 per hour for reimbursement.

 

The current reimbursement rate is $40 per hour, which, according to the group, is the lowest in the nation and just $10 more than it was in 1988.

 

Both bills have until June 30 to clear the committee, after which the legislature would have just a month before the end of the session to approve and send them to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.

 

AASP-MA Executive Director Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg is excited about the two proposed bills that might actually level the playing field. He offered a little history on House Bill 1111 and State Bill 709.

 

“In 1988, insurance reform led to the reimbursement rate being at $30 an hour, which made Massachusetts have one of the highest-paid reimbursement rates in the country and best reimbursement rates,” Papageorg said. “But, once the Insurance Reform Act went through, the reimbursement rates actually dropped from $30 to $28 per hour for about five years, based on contractual arrangements that shops had with the insurance companies. Today, they are at $40---35 years later. I wouldn’t call that a jump in rates, to say the least.

 

“House Bill 1111 and State Bill 709 are essentially identical bills that take away the ability for insurance companies to stagnate the rates in the future, which is what they've effectively done,” Papageorg said. “It allows the insurance industry and body shops to be able to plan ahead as far as what they can anticipate for expenses and income, because the reimbursement rate will keep pace with the consumer pricing index here, with the language in these bills.”

 

Papageorg has witnessed the results of...


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