No-fault insurance reform could be underway as Democrats take power in Michigan

But the law also reduced by 45 percent the amount that health care providers can charge for reimbursement for services to accident survivors not covered by Medicare — a change that advocates say hinders patients’ access to high-quality care.

Connected:

A total of 4,082 health care worker jobs have been eliminated since 2021, while 6,857 crash patients have been released from care since the policy took effect, a study by the Michigan Institute of Public Health found.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told Bridge Michigan that she expects conversations about ways to fix the law to begin early next year.

“This is where the work needs to be done to make sure that people who are injured can get the support they’ve paid for,” Whitmer told Bridge Michigan. “I’m interested in pursuing this.”

Prior to 2020, Michigan was the only state where drivers were required to pay for comprehensive personal injury coverage. This became optional after the new law came into force and drivers are now allowed to choose from different levels of cover.

The Michigan Accident Claims Association — an industry-led nonprofit that collects annual fees from Michigan motorists to cover the medical care of accident victims — reduced its fees and issued reimbursement checks of $400 per vehicle of Michigan drivers at Whitmer’s insistence after the 2019 law.

The association recently raised its new annual vehicle assessments to at least $48 per vehicle per year, following a recent Court of Appeals ruling that said patients who began receiving care for auto injuries before the 2019 law passed cannot subject to change. This determination is appealed.

While reform advocates say the ruling has eased some of the pressure, they are still pushing for legislative changes to ensure future victims don’t face the same problems.

“What we’re really looking for is a legislative solution that makes this all moot and we can just get back to restoring continuity of care for crash victims,” ​​said Tom Judd, president of the Brain Injury Providers Council of Michigan.

Rep. Julie Rogers, D-Kalamazoo, is a physical therapist who has worked with people who have been catastrophically injured and a longtime supporter of legislation to fix the fee schedule outlined in the 2019 law.

She said lawmakers felt a sense of urgency to overhaul the law, even though Democrats likely have a busy agenda taking control after 40 years without controlling both houses of the Legislature.

“No-fault car issues are life and death,” Rogers said. “For me, that makes it really rise to the top of the list of things that need to be fixed.”

Supporters of the existing law say the changes are a difficult but necessary trade-off to cut costs.

In a statement provided to Bridge Michigan, Insurance Alliance of Michigan Director Erin McDonough said the 2019 reforms have made insurance more affordable for tens of thousands of drivers and means Michigan is no longer the most expensive state to buy car insurance. insurance.

Ensuring that those injured in car crashes get the medical care they need remains a priority for insurers, McDonagh said, adding that the 2019 law marks Michigan’s first attempt to create checks and balances on medical costs.

“We are pushing for a broader view to ensure that savings for Michigan consumers remain protected as the Legislature and governor pursue any assessment of reforms,” ​​she said.

If Whitmer and future lawmakers can come up with a solution that makes changes to the law without compromising the savings, current House Speaker Jason Wentworth said there’s no problem — but none of the plans that have been proposed so far would this, he said.

He has no intention of raising the issue during the parliamentary session before the start of the new term next year.

“If there’s a sweet spot for fixing the perceived problem that’s there, I’ve been willing to look at it from day one,” the Clare Republican said. “I’ve never been presented with a plan that actually fixes this and still preserves the savings.” So if they can get through the next term, then great.”

William Brooke, an Erie GOP representative whose home care business had two clients affected by the policy change, said one of his priorities is to find ways to fix legislation that has “good intentions” but has a negative impact on businesses and residents.

The 2019 law “has had some good results in terms of more people now having car insurance, but there have also been some negative effects,” he said.

“We don’t do a lot of auto cases, but we had two clients in particular who had their rates reduced by almost 60 percent, so that didn’t allow us to take care of them,” he said. “We’re not alone in this… I’m definitely willing to look into this.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *