LANSING, Mich. — A group of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle gathered on the steps of the Capitol Wednesday morning to announce a new package of bills, set to be introduced later this week, aimed at ensuring that survivors of catastrophic auto crashes have access to the care they need to survive.
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.
Survivors and their loved ones were also in Lansing Wednesday— first to hear the announcement from legislators, and then to showcase a set of art pieces, which highlights the stories of several real-life auto crash survivors.
The piece, titled 'We Can't Wait', was created by artist and advocate Christina Corvette Wright for ArtPrize 2021.
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.
This new package of 5 bills announced Wednesday aims to do the following:
- Define medically accepted standards
- Clarify compensation for home-based caregivers
- Update what does/doesn't qualify as medical treatment under the bill
- Revises the way survivors of motorcycle crashes receive benefits
“I think everybody can admit we had to make some changes... It was getting too expensive, but unfortunately, it was put on the backs of the catastrophically injured,” Rep Doug Wozniak said during the announcement.
Rep Julie Rogers said, “Many accident survivors, along with their families, caregivers, and providers, have come forward telling us legislators their serious concerns regarding the impact of their care under Michigan's no-fault insurance laws.”
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 are cautiously optimistic that these new bills will finally catch some traction, and guarantee that their access to vital medical care remains intact.
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