LANSING, MI – If you have ever experienced the heartache that is caused by another person’s actions behind the wheel of a car, you will easily understand that car insurance in Michigan must cover catastrophic claims at the very least.
House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marsall) and House Republicans are proposing in a House GOP “draft” bill that would put a cap on No Fault medical benefits. The bill would cap the amount paid out to attendant care services, rehabilitation benefits, vehicle-modification benefits and limiting how much auto insurers have to pay for auto accident victims’ medical expenses.
Accidents are going to happen. We pay insurance first because it’s the law and a requirement to operate a vehicle but also to cover the unknown. Those factors are a part of life being on the roads in a very mobile society. It is the unknown that can and does happen on a daily basis. Drivers pay high premiums for insurance in the State of Michigan with the expectation that if that accident permanently disables us, we can get the necessary care to keep one alive and with dignity.
One day your at work. You leave on your lunch break to run errands. Your life is everything you want it to be. A good job, wonderful family and friends. Life is where it should be. Then a drunk driver plows into you leaving you clinging to life by a thread. This unfortunate accident happens because someone got behind the wheel of their car intoxicated with no forethought of what could happen. All because their judgement was clouded by alcohol. It is no fault of your doing.
Your life is now completely turned upside down. The ability to work is gone but your family must still be provided for. You alone must be cared for to cover the initial expenses much less the ongoing bills of life that never end. That is why caps on catastrophic claims proposed in the No Fault Insurance Reform Bill are nothing short of potential financial rape for those paying car insurance.
One must almost assume that House Speaker Bolger and his counterparts have never stepped into the lives of someone who require those benefits to survive with care that includes unending doctors visits, medical equipment, drugs, therapy, transportation, food, clothing and the list goes on.
In an online article written by Steven M. Gursten for MichiganAutoLaw.com, he details the proposed changes. Those changes are as follows:
- Creating a new $25 annual HICA tax, a new “Catastrophic Claims Assessment” for the new MCCA-type organization, a new $21 million annual assessment and continuing existing MCCA assessments.
- Capping No Fault medical benefits and limiting attendant care services, rehabilitation benefits, vehicle-modification benefits and limiting how much auto insurers have to pay for auto accident victims’ medical expenses.
- Making it more difficult for auto accident victims to show that their medical costs are covered by No Fault.
- Making it more difficult for auto accident victims to show they’re entitled to No Fault medical, rehabilitation, home-modification and vehicle-modification benefits.
- Making it easier for Michigan No Fault auto insurance companies to deny and/or terminate auto accident victims’ No Fault benefits.
- Making it more difficult for auto accident victims to challenge denials and/or terminations of No Fault benefits.
- Creating a “witch hunt”-type of atmosphere for doctors, hospitals, therapists and other professionals who provide treatment and services to auto accident victims.
- Creating a “Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Pilot Program” that neither guarantees a specific “low” cost for auto insurance nor provides for adequate coverage.
It would be interesting to see how Speaker Bolger and those proposing these reforms would feel if we played ‘This Is Your Life’ to them for just one day of them being dependent on benefits as they are now vs. the proposed changes. It would be almost a guarantee that they would change their tune.
Our collective voices must be heard on these sweeping changes. Call, write, email, fax your displeasure to your legislators. They need to get the message loud and clear.
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This article is written in Memory of Roger Beauchamp and for his loving wife Shannon