Proposed House Bill 4959
After failing to pass so called no-fault auto reform in the last legislative session, the insurance companies are at it again with the introduction of House Bill 4595.Last sessions proposal would, among other things, have eliminate lifetime medical care for all drivers in exchange for a one time $125 reduction in premium. This sessions bill would allow seniors 65yrs and older to opt out of coverage. According to Michigan Association of Justice member and auto accident attorney Steven Gursten, who has examined the bill, the bill will do nothing to protect seniors,but will expose them to greater risk if they are injured in an auto accident. Gursten identified 5 ways the bill would put seniors at greater risk:
1. The elimination of lifetime medical benefits
Seniors will no longer have lifetime ” reasonably and necessary” and reasonably priced medical coverage. All other drivers would still have this coverage.
2. Seniors would have to turn to Medicare for services.
However, Medicare will not cover all of the services needed by an injured senior automobile victim that would otherwise be covered under No-Fault, including in-home nursing, attendant care, skilled nursing facility care, home health care services, long term custodial care and home and vehicle modifications
3. Pain and suffering claims would be used to pay back Medicare.
Senior drivers recoveries for pain and suffering damages would be wiped out by Medicare liens, which would not be the case if their medical services were covered by the current No-Fault system.
4. Seniors will be discriminated against.
House bill 4959 allows seniors to trade all rights they currently have after an accident in exchange for dropping No-Fault. They lose their constitutional right to sue for auto related personal injuries.
5. Taxpayers will have to pay the increased Medicare costs.
If the auto insurance companies are not going to pay for accident related medical costs the burden will be shifted to taxpayers through Medicare.. This will drastically increase taxpayers burden through increased Medicare cost. Under the current system all drivers pay for auto insurance and the system is funded by the insurance companies.
Michigan currently has the finest No-Fault system in the United States. Unless and until Auto insurers can demonstrate, with hard evidence ,that the current system is not working, house members should be urged stop the insurance companies from increasing profit at the expense of vulnerable seniors.