NewsIn-DepthNo-Fault Auto Reform


'We're out of excuses': No-fault auto reform advocates hopeful 'fix' will happen after Election Day

A majority-Democrat House and Senate in Michigan could see legislation finally picked up
no fault web pic
Posted at 4:59 PM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 17:22:56-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan has for decades been known for its sky-high car insurance prices — the goal of our no-fault auto reform law signed in 2019 was to lower what drivers pay for protection, but advocates say it has had unintended consequences for crash survivors trying to obtain medical care.

After nearly a year and a half of bills aimed at addressing their concerns failing to gain any traction at the Capitol, advocates are now cautiously optimistic that newly elected lawmakers will finally make something happen.

There are roughly 18,000 Michiganders currently receiving medical benefits from their auto no-fault policies.

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.

Because of these new limitations, multiple local care providers have been forced to either stop accepting patients receiving benefits through no-fault or close their doors completely.

There has been a handful of bills introduced in Lansing since the law took effect aimed at changing the fee schedule, and guaranteeing survivors access to medical care.

All of them have so far languished in committees without any substantial consideration.

Advocates blamed Republican leadership for refusing to take up any of the bills for a vote.

Following Tuesday's election, for the first time in decades, Michigan will soon have a majority-Democrat House and Senate.

“We have a governor who has said several times that she will sign a bill that gets to her desk, that she wants a bill to get to her desk that calls for a narrow solution to the crisis of care," Tom Judd, president of the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council, said Monday.

"Well, her party is now in the majority ... we're out of excuses there. We need to get that bill to the governor.”

The Michigan Court of Appeals issued an opinion at the end of August saying that changes to Michigan's no-fault auto insurance law should not apply retroactively to people who purchased policies and were injured prior to the law being signed in 2019.

The case was brought by crash survivors Ellen Andary of East Lansing, Philip Krueger of Ann Arbor, and the Eisenhower Center, a brain injury rehabilitation clinic, against USAA Casualty Insurance.

Advocates still want a legislative "fix," as the Court of Appeals' opinion won't apply to those injured after the new law took effect.

“We've been told we've got to let this this law play out for the progress to continue. We don't know what that progress is, because rates aren't going down, and in the meantime, people are suffering,” Judd said Monday.

“They're suffering needlessly ... we're talking about a narrow solution that restores providers getting paid at a reasonable level.”

According to The Zebra, a website that analyzes and compares car insurance rates across the United States, Michigan is now the second-most expensive state to purchase a policy.

In 2022, drivers in Michigan paid a yearly average of $2,639.

Louisiana is now the most expensive state, with drivers paying an average of $3,265 a year.

Impact of Changes to No-Fault Law
According to CPAN, a group focused on preserving our previous no-fault auto system, there have been at least eight people who have died since the changes went into effect, because of losing access to some care.

A report released at the beginning of August, conducted by the Michigan Public Health and commissioned by the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, found that 6,857 crash survivors have been discharged from local care providers, and 4,082 health care workers have lost their jobs.

They found that 10 care companies have had to close their doors completely since the changes took effect, while 14 more companies expect to close in the next 12 months.

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
July 1, 2022 — 1 Year Under the New Auto No-Fault Law
Aug. 11, 2022 — 2nd Report Released on Impact of No-Fault
Aug. 25, 2022 — 35 Counties Sign Resolution Urging Legislative Changes
Aug. 26, 2022 — Court of Appeals Says Law is Not Retroactive

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