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No Fault ‘reform’ Senate Bill 818 may surprise you

Think you’ll see a cap on No Fault medical, restrictions on benefits, no right to a jury trial? Think again

Sen. John Pappageorge

The latest proposal for so-called No Fault “reform,” Senate Bill 818, which was introduced by Sen. John Pappageorge (R-13th District) on Tuesday will definitely surprise you.

It certainly surprised me.

As an insurance attorney who helps auto accident victims every day, I knew the ins and outs of last year’s No Fault proposal, House Bill 4612, which was introduced by Rep. Pete Lund (R-36th District) and strongly backed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

And, as you know from this week’s blog post series, I’m familiar with the portions of House Speaker Jase Bolger’s (R-Marshall) No Fault proposals that he has discussed publicly and with the media.

I admit that when I learned Sen. Pappageorge had introduced a No Fault bill in the Senate, I figured it was going to be more of the same: Promised savings; a No Fault medical benefits cap; across-the-board benefit restrictions; and, denial of auto accident victims’ right to trial by jury.

You can imagine my surprise when, after having scrutinized SB 818 multiple times, I found none of these things.

Before I tell you what’s in the bill, I want to tell what’s not in the bill. There is/are:

  • No promised savings on auto insurance premiums for consumers.
  • No cap on No Fault medical benefits and, thus, no elimination of auto accident victims’ right to reasonably necessary and reasonably priced lifetime No Fault medical benefits.
  • No specific restrictions on rehabilitation benefits or home- and vehicle-modification benefits.
  • No elimination or redefinition of the “reasonably necessary” standard for “allowable expenses.”
  • No denial of auto accident victims’ right to trial by jury on whether their No Fault benefits were unjustly terminated and/or denied.

Okay, now, I’ll tell you what’s in SB 818 (and I’ll explain each point in greater detail in another blog post within the next few days):

  • A new definition of what constitutes a “reasonable” charge for “allowable expenses” purposes.
  • A fee schedule for medical providers who treat auto accident victims.
  • Restrictions on in-home, family- or household member-provided attendant care services.
  • Ongoing assessments from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA).
  • New annual “Catastrophic Claims Fee” charged to and paid by auto insurance consumers.
  • New annual $21 million assessment to fund the Automobile Insurance Fraud Authority and the Automobile Theft Prevention Authority.
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Blog Author Steven M. Gursten
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