MICHIGAN. — A new report published this week details some of the initial impact Michigan's most recent portion of auto no-fault insurance reform has had on the ability for crash survivors to access medical care.
The 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.
While the report dives into actual numbers of employees and survivors affected, we have heard anecdotal story after story from families struggling to get by in the wake of the recent changes.
Martha Levandowski, the administrative director of CPAN, an organization focused on preserving Michigan's auto no-fault system, told FOX 17 on Tuesday that they have confirmed at least five crash survivors who have died since the changes went into effect.
These individuals allegedly deteriorated after losing some access to care.
349 care providers in the state participated in the survey — those providers are serving 16,753 crash survivors, and representing 16,296 medical care employees.
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.
“It's what we've been saying for months on end now. It's happening; it will continue to happen,” Tom Constand, president and CEO of BIAMI, told FOX 17.
“The providers have been running on reserve cash reserves to this point; that's going to run out in the not-too-distant future.”
You can view the full report from the Michigan Public Health Institute below.
Michigan legislators signed the no-fault auto law reform bill into law back in 2019, aimed at lowering the state's consistently high insurance rates.
Advocates for survivors of catastrophic auto crashes say the new law, in many cases, has made it extremely difficult to find the medical services they need to survive.
Under the new law, which took effect on July 2, 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.
There were already a series of bills introduced to "fix" the new medical-fee schedule several months ago before the Legislature went on their summer recess, but all of those languished in committee.
Advocates with the We Can't Wait Facebook group are planning to stage another rally at the State Capitol in Lansing Wednesday afternoon.
“We need them to be able to smell and touch and feel and see this situation,” said Maureen Howell, who has been on the forefront of these advocacy efforts.
“We have people that are just barely hanging on, and that are probably not going to make it... This is a deadly change in our law.”
They will be at the Capitol from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend and show their support for a narrow fix to these medical fee schedules.
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