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No Fault ‘reform’ Senate Bill 818 may surprise you

February 27, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

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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5 Replies to “No Fault ‘reform’ Senate Bill 818 may surprise you”

  1. I am most concerned about our caregiver benefits. Our claims representative advised that their plan is to cut our benefit in half. My husband is severely disabled C5/C6 with a closed head injury. His condition seems to deteriorate a little more each year. Sometimes it takes three of us to give him a shower and two of us to get him up and into his chair. I have a letter from our carrier saying that this benefit is a lifetime benefit, which supports the amount they are paying. We have used this letter when remortgaging our home. How are we going to survive on half? We will have to sell our home as we will not be able to meet all the costs. We have received this benefit amount for eighteen years. Considering all the increases in food, gas, electric, insurances, and now this coupled with a 14 year old van they will not replace, please tell me what are we to do? Why can these large corporations break their contract? Thus should be criminal because it feels like it is a sure spearheaded for our family in many ways. Denise

    1. I truly am sorry for you, however people in other states use the Medicare or Medicaid system for this care, which every Michigander already pays into. But in Michigan, every car owner must also pay $187 per vehicle per year to pay for this coverage for anyone hurt on Michigan roads, regardless of residency. My family currently pays $748 per year for something we do not use nor have a 99.9% chance of never using. This is on top of our ACTUAL auto insurance cost. Considering all the increases in food, gas, electric, insurances, . . . please tell me what are we to do?

      1. Sorry, hit post too soon. These legislators/bill makers are always dancing around the issues. NO ONE ever gets clear answers. IF anything is done, those who are currently drawing benefits should be grandfathered in and continue and the changes/reductions take place from now on and start the weaning off of the charges on our auto insurance. We ALL are living from check to check, except those who make the rules – legislator who do NOT participate in Social Security nor ObamaCare (which to me is another crime – they should ALL be required to participate!)

    2. I’m very sorry to hear about your husband’s injuries. It must be very stressful to think that his No Fault benefits may be affected by proposals to change No Fault. Comments like the one you describe from your representative about slashing caregiver benefits in half only make things worse. It’s good that you have the letter from your carrier indicating that your husband’s “benefit is a lifetime benefit.” Nevertheless, I understand your uncertainty about what the future may bring and what actions your representative may take. If you wish to, I invite you to call Michigan Auto Law at 800-968-1001 and talk to one of our experienced auto accident attorneys. Thank you and take care.

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