I would like to tell you about my client Lisa Chase, of Clinton Township in Macomb County, who was seriously injured in an automobile accident. Lisa is a wonderful, kind woman who now finds herself in a situation that’s sadly common in Michigan today. Lisa recently wrote letters to The Detroit News and attorney general, asking for help with her insurance. This was after The Detroit News ran a story about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan seeking rate increases on individual policies by as much as 56 percent, to offset a projected $1 billion loss in the next three years. Needless to say, this has generated a lot of public outrage.
People who need health insurance are getting priced out of the market — and these premium hikes are only going to make insurance even more expensive. The auto accident lawyers of Michigan Auto Law are all too familiar with this scenario, as many people who have been injured in car accidents, truck accidents and motorcycle accidents routinely have their auto no-fault insurance benefits cut-off by their no-fault insurance companies, forcing them to turn to expensive individual health insurance plans.
The Jan. 31, 2009 newspaper story stated that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has filed a rate increase request with the Michigan Office of Insurance and Regulation to raise monthly premiums on plans that cover about 400,000 Michigan residents. The request proposes average rate increases on three types of policies: a 56 percent increase on individual plans; 42 percent on group conversion coverage (which extends benefits from a former employer); and 31 percent for Medicare supplemental plans.
Lisa Chase sustained severe neck injuries in a car accident, was upset by the prospect of paying even more for health insurance. Here’s what she wrote to the Detroit News reporter who covered the story:
“It is absolutely appalling that Blue Cross again wants to raise premiums when people are already losing their jobs in Michigan and can barely afford to make ends meet. Not only do they charge rates that most can’t afford for individual policies, but the policies cover the bare minimum of what they should. The deductibles alone are outrageous, from $2,000 to $5,000 and prescription benefits that pay only $2,500 per year, which can be exhausted within two to three months depending on the amount of prescriptions you take and if there are generics for them. Just one of my medications costs $600 per month and I now have to take six different medications daily. I was in a severe car accident in 2005, working for Macomb County, and had to take over my Cobra payments at $1,588 per month. I could only do that because my car insurance carrier helped to pay. Now 18 months have ended and I have absolutely no insurance, no job, and am not able to afford insurance. This is certainly the situation that many face, not only in Michigan but around the United States. So again, Blue Cross chooses to make it impossible for individuals and small companies to afford to pay these premiums and has the nerve to exclude pre-existing conditions. Ultimately, they are in-part responsible for many people like me, worrying everyday what is going to happen; because they do not have and cannot afford to pay for health insurance. What Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan should be doing is going to the pharmaceutical and health care industries and Washington to fight for better health care for all, and use their strength as an insurance giant to show the insurance industry and the people of the United States that insurance companies care about human beings and not just the almighty dollar. That is what needs to be asked of Blue Cross executives and the whole health care industry, but never do we hear one story on one of them coming to the aide of their fellow man.”
Car Accident Victim’s Letter to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Meanwhile, according to The Detroit News, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has questioned Blue Cross’s financial projections, saying they’re being exaggerated to push for a legislative overhaul of the individual insurance market in Blue Cross’s favor.
This is what Lisa wrote to Cox:
“After reading the article in the Detroit News regarding Blue Cross raising the rates for individual insurance policies, I, like many others in the United States today, feel helpless against these powerful companies. I was in a severe car accident in December 2005, and my whole life has changed because of it. I had a wonderful job working for the Macomb-St. Clair Workforce Development Board in Macomb County, and was the soul provider for my family of two children and husband, who is disabled. I have had fusion surgery on my cervical spine, replacing three discs in my neck, a closed-head injury, and I developed fibromyalgia shortly afterward. Unfortunately, I was not able to return to work and lost the only security that I worked so hard for to care for my family. Because of our no-fault insurance laws, and not being informed by the automotive insurers that all of us should carry on our policies something called underinsured coverage, I now am faced with the devastation of not being able to work and wondering why automotive insurance companies are not obligated to educate all policy holders about their coverage. Each day I wonder why my life is worth nothing and how I am going to live, as I never had the chance to make sure I had enough insurance to be able to live, even sparsely for the rest of my life.
Mr. Cox, why is this ok? And why are we not allowed to hold these insurance companies responsible for their neglect? I don’t understand why I can’t sit in a court room and hold them accountable when they have misled and concealed information (about available uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage). And now I have no retirement, no health insurance, and no income. I am absolutely devastated that our lawmakers allow these insurance companies to destroy the lives of so many like myself, and we have no means of defense. It is my sincere hope that you will help to be the voice for those of us who cannot and will not be heard. I live scared everyday of my life and wonder why this is allowed to happen in the greatest country in the world.”
Auto Accident Attorneys of Michigan Auto Law Can Help With Insurance Issues
Our no-fault insurance lawyers would like to sincerely thank Lisa Chase for rallying for car accident victims and all Michigan residents who are struggling to make ends meet and stay healthy. We too care about protecting Michigan drivers and their families.
That’s why we strongly encourage you to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage will cover you if you are injured by an uninsured driver. And since so many people are insured with only minimum insurance coverage for bodily injury, underinsured motorist coverage protects people who have been seriously injured by a driver with inadequate insurance policy limits. The price for this coverage is minimal for the protection it offers if you are injured in a car accident. Please be sure to ask your lawyer about these important plans, because like Lisa Chase said, many insurance companies will not inform their policy holders about these options.
We will be happy to review your insurance coverage and make recommendations. To request a free, no obligation case evaluation from an auto accident attorney, please fill out our consultation form and we will respond to your inquiry within one business day. Or to speak to an attorney immediately, please call (800) 777-0028.
What Benefits Are Available through Michigan No-Fault Law?
Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Southfield, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights.
Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top attorneys handling serious car and truck accident injury cases and automobile insurance no-fault litigation. Steve has received the largest jury verdict for an automobile accident case in Michigan in four of the past seven years, including 2008. For more information about Michigan Auto Law, please read our law firm quick facts.