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Michigan No Fault insurance system is the nation’s best for providing medical benefits

May 25, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Experts agree that Michigan No Fault’s medical benefits provide invaluable protection for auto accident victims

If, heaven forbid, you are seriously injured in a car accident, you want it to be in Michigan. Seriously. Michigan auto accident victims are significantly better off than people in other states. This is because of Michigan’s unique No Fault insurance laws. And there is one No Fault “PIP” – personal injury protection benefit that is more valuable than any other: Michigan’s “unlimited,” lifetime medical benefits for necessary medical care.

For now.

Why the Michigan insurance industry is in attack mode

Sadly, the insurance industry in Michigan is in attack mode, sensing opportunity to change the nation’s best auto insurance laws. The insurance industry is pushing for caps to lifetime necessary medical care through proposed No Fault “reform” laws. So today, I wanted to take a minute and remind Michigan drivers exactly what our current No Fault medical benefits cover, and how critically important they are to Michigan drivers.

First, one misconception is that these are “unlimited” medical benefits. That’s actually not true. They are limited to only necessary medical care for people injured in automobile accidents. If the medical care cannot be shown to be reasonably necessary to an accident victim’s care, recovery, or rehabilitation, it is not covered.

Second, people blame this benefit on the high cost of auto insurance in Michigan. Wrong again. Blame Michigan’s auto insurance companies, which currently enjoy the nation’s highest profit margins for selling auto insurance in this state. And blame the Michigan insurance commissioner, who lacks the power that insurance commissioners have in almost all other states to stop clearly excessive profits. It makes no sense that Michigan drivers are forced by law to purchase No Fault insurance, but we cannot regulate excessive pricing of this insurance we are required by law to buy.

Most of all, blame the insurance company propaganda machine. For they have taken the anger that people have over high rates, and through misdirection have focused that anger on efforts to reduce critical No Fault insurance protections. That is the entire impetus behind the insurance industry’s efforts today to cap No Fault. And sadly, but predictably, the Republicans that control both the Michigan Senate and House are not asking why these same insurance companies lead the entire nation in profitability.

Your Michigan No-Fault medical benefits

Now, back to Michigan’s unlimited medical No Fault benefits. The Insurance Institute of Michigan has said that Michigan’s No Fault system is “offering the best no-fault medical benefits of any state.” And the American Insurance Institute has praised Michigan’s No Fault system for “cost effectively providing the nation’s most extensive auto insurance benefits at affordable rates …”

Under Michigan’s No Fault insurance law, a seriously injured Michigan auto accident victim’s No Fault insurance company must pay unlimited, necessary lifetime medical benefits to the accident victim for all reasonably necessary expenses associated with the victim’s accident-related care, recovery and rehabilitation.

“Unlimited” means there is no limit to how much a victim’s No Fault insurance company may have to pay for the victim’s accident-related medical care, as long as the care is reasonably necessary. Again, that last part about reasonable and necessary medical care acts as an important safeguard against abuse and fraud.

If a Michigan auto accident victim’s medical expenses run as high as $100,00 or $500,000 or $1 million, those expenses will be paid in full by the victim’s No Fault auto insurance company.

Similarly, if a seriously injured Michigan auto accident victim’s need for accident-related medical care lasts the victim’s entire “lifetime,” then so will the obligation of the victim’s No Fault insurance company to pay for those medical products, services and accommodations.

Michigan’s unique No Fault law concerning “unlimited” necessary lifetime medical benefits covers the following products, services and accommodations that are reasonably necessary to a victim’s accident-related care, recovery or rehabilitation:

  • Doctor visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, X-rays, MRIs, CT-scans, physical therapy, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, and prescription medications.
  • Medical, physical and vocational rehabilitation services.
  • In-home attendant care services provided to the accident victim.
  • Home modifications, such ramps, wider doors, or elevators, to enable an accident victim to return home despite his or her accident-related injuries or limitations.
  • Vehicle modifications, such as making the vehicle wheelchair accessible, to enable an accident victim to drive him- or herself around, despite his or her accident-related injuries or limitations.
  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs, IVs, walkers, canes, crutches, prosthetics, artificial limbs, medical devices and other aids.
  • Reimbursement for mileage or transportation costs incurred in seeking medical treatment.
  • Guardian- and/or conservatorship expenses for legally incapacitated victims.
  • Case manager/management costs.

Steve Gursten is one of the nation’s top insurance attorneys handling auto accident lawsuits. He is head of Michigan Auto Law and president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. Steve frequently writes and speaks about Michigan No-Fault law and auto insurance, and is available for comment.

Related information to protect yourselves:

Your Michigan No Fault rights

Ain’t Michigan No Fault great?

Beware of insurance reform billboards

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights. Call (248) 353-7575 to speak with one of our Michigan insurance attorneys.

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