Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas
State Sens. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) and Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Twp.) on Tuesday introduced a set of bills intended to reform Michigan’s auto insurance system and improve access to care for drivers who were severely injured in car accidents.
In 2019, the Legislature amended the first-party personal injury portion of the no-fault auto insurance system, which included limits to reimbursements for family-provided attendant care and created provider fee schedules.
While the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled these changes would not apply to individuals who were injured before the bills became law, advocates say these changes continue to limit access to services for people injured after the bipartisan law was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2019.
“Several years after major reforms to Michigan’s auto insurance system, we’re able to evaluate some of the outcomes, including unintended consequences,” Cavanagh said. “These bills address the urgent issue of access to care, ensuring survivors of auto accidents can continue receiving the specialized care they need and restoring the promise to every Michigan driver that they’ll have access to appropriate care if they’re ever in an accident.”
According to a statement from Anthony’s office, the newly introduced bills, Senate Bills 530 and 531 would build on the changes in the 2019 legislation seeking to improve accessibility to affordable post-acute and home care and address home care limitations.
The proposed changes aim to establish consistent rates among providers, issue a new non-Medicare fee schedule, create a “fair and reasonable” rate structure to ensure specialized care is readily available, require accreditation for home care agency providers and expand opportunities for family-provided care.
“This bill package supports auto accident survivors and reestablishes our commitment to Michigan drivers that they will have access to high-quality, affordable care if they are in an accident,” Anthony said.
“For years, people severely injured and permanently disabled by accidents have been priced out of the care that their lives depend on. These bills will support accident survivors, their families, and their caregivers by restructuring our Medicare reimbursement schedule and increasing in-home care to ensure they receive access to the support they need,” Anthony said.
The bills, which have Democratic and Republican cosponsors, were referred to the Senate Finance, Insurance and Consumer Protection Committee, which Cavanagh chairs.
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association offered its support in a statement.
“The auto no-fault insurance bills introduced today will improve access to care for auto accident survivors and patients,” said Brian Peters, the association’s CEO.
“The reforms implemented several years ago created an environment of extreme uncertainty. This bill package is an important step towards providing better access to services and reimbursement clarity, bringing Michigan healthcare provider reimbursement in line with national averages and ensuring they all have the resources needed to care for auto accident survivors throughout their recovery,” Peters said.
The Michigan HomeCare and Hospice Association also backed the bills, with Barry Cargill, the association’s president and CEO, thanking senators for the package “to fix auto no fault to provide medically necessary care for all crash survivors, no matter when they are injured.
“We urge the legislature to act quickly to fix the mistake made by the previous legislature by restoring reasonable reimbursement for medically necessary care for our most vulnerable citizens to stop the growing care crisis,” Cargill said.
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