LANSING, Mich. — A case going in front of Michigan Appeals Court judges on Tuesday could have wide ranging implications for Michiganders who receive medical benefits through a no-fault insurance policy, if they purchased a policy and were injured before July 2021.
Under the new law, which took effect on July 2, 2021, any medical service not already covered under our federal Medicare law, which includes in-home caregivers and transportation to medical services, will now only be reimbursed by insurance companies at 55% of what they were back in 2019. The law also caps the number of hours that family members can provide care to just 56 hours a week.
There are roughly 18,000 Michiganders currently receiving medical benefits from their auto no-fault policies.
Families of several crash survivors have since filed suit against their insurance providers, arguing that the new law should not apply to them retroactively.
The case going in front of the Michigan Court of Appeals on Tuesday was brought by survivors Ellen Andary, of East Lansing, Philip Krueger, of Ann Arbor, and the Eisenhower Center, a brain injury rehabilitation clinic.
Decisions issued in this case could have wide-ranging implications for those in the state receiving no-fault benefits.
Martha Levandowski, the administrative director of CPAN, an organization focused on preserving Michigan's auto no-fault system, told FOX 17 earlier this year that they have confirmed at least five crash survivors who have died since the changes went into effect.
Other advocates say at least seven crash survivors have since died. These individuals allegedly deteriorated after losing some access to care.
If the court decides on the side of the plaintiffs bringing the suit, attorney for CPAN George Sinas, said, “they will be able to continue getting the medical treatment that they've been getting, which will have to be paid at the rate that the medical treatment was being charged at before, which under the old law was a reasonable charge.”
About the new medical fee schedule and other limitations brought on my the new law, Sinas said, “We, from the very beginning, felt this would be not only legally inappropriate, but, inhumane, cruel, and really socially immoral, to take these benefits away from people who paid good money to secure them... who paid an insurance company a premium that was in part based upon underwriting risks like this.”
Representatives of Michigan's insurance industry held an online press call Monday afternoon to discuss the No-Fault insurance law, and the case going before the Court of Appeals, but a condition of being on the call was that media would not record it or report on what was said.
They will of course be in court on Tuesday to explain their perspective.
FOX 17 will be monitoring the hearing and will provide updates as they become available.
A report, conducted by the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) and commissioned by the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI), was conducted between September and October of 2021.
According to their findings, 1,548 crash survivors have lost access to care since the most recent portion of the no-fault reform went into effect in July of 2021.
3,049 medical-care employees have lost their jobs.
96 care companies say they are no longer able to accept patients with auto no-fault insurance benefits, while 140 said they have had to "significantly reduce" their services.
21 care companies have had to completely shut down.
FOX 17's Coverage of No-Fault Auto Reform Care Crisis
May 17, 2021 — New Law Could Have Devastating Consequences
June 2, 2021 — "We're Paying the Price With Our Lives": FOX 17 Extended Coverage
June 9, 2021 — Hundreds of Survivors Protest at Capitol
June 10, 2021 — Rep. Berman Introduces Bill to Prevent Cuts
June 23, 2021 — Advocates Rally Again at Capitol
June 26, 2021 — House Approves $10M Fund
June 30, 2021 — Advocates Say $25M Isn't Enough
July 7, 2021 — Family Scared to Lose Caregivers
July 23, 2021 — Providers Begin Closing their Doors
Aug. 4, 2021 — Patients Continue to Lose Care
Sept. 24, 2021 — Changes Causing Chaos for Survivors
Sept. 27, 2021 — 'We Can't Wait' ArtPrize Entry Highlights Care Crisis
Oct. 4, 2021 — Protest Outside Business of SML Shirkey
Oct. 14, 2021 — Some Insurers Not Following Intent of Law
Oct. 27, 2021 — New Round of Bills Announced
Jan. 11, 2022— Report Says No Fault Reform Created Crisis of Care
May 18, 2022— After Clinton Co. Court Decision, Crash Survivors Still Pushing for No-Fault Insurance Law Fix