LANSING — State Representative Jeff Irwin (Ann Arbor) said today that Republican-sponsored House Bill 4936, which limits insurance benefits for car accident victims, would bankrupt accident victims and their families in Michigan. Additionally, allowing auto insurance companies to limit insurance benefits would force many of those suffering from prolonged auto injuries (i.e. TBI patients) to turn to other health care options such as Medicare and Medicaid which would greatly increase the burden on taxpayers who pay into these programs.
“No-fault insurance ensures that citizens get the care they need without wasting time and money fighting with the courts and lawyers,” said Irwin (D-Ann Arbor). “The system is working well for consumers but the insurance companies would love to shift their liabilities to the taxpayers.”
Highlights of the legislation include:
No requirements for insurance companies to reduce rates to reflect their reduced liabilities.
Consumers will be prevented from buying “unlimited coverage,” as they do today. Instead, consumers can buy $500K, $1M or $5M in LIFETIME coverage. Once coverage is exhausted, victims and their families would be left to bankruptcy and eventually Medicare/Medicaid.
Victims must seek compensation through the courts, ensuring that more money is wasted on attorneys and court costs.
“Thousands of jobs will be lost almost immediately. Just in Washtenaw County we have hundreds of good-paying jobs in rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury care,” Irwin commented. “These sorts of services, including intensive physical therapy and comprehensive home care, will no longer be covered. Instead of aggressive rehabilitation, victims will be pushed toward taxpayer-funded nursing home care.”
In addition to limiting insurance benefits, the bill also puts limits on homecare services, creates a fee schedule for hospitals and doctors, includes a $50,000 appropriation to prevent a voter referendum on the bill, and would push victims to Medicaid for their care when their insurance coverage runs out.
“The $50,000 appropriation is solely intended to keep voters from overturning this ill-conceived law as they have twice before when attempts were made to limit no-fault insurance benefits,” Irwin said. “Republican leaders know that no-fault insurance is popular and successful which is why they want to take away the citizens’ right to referendum.”