Opinion: Michigan's no-fault auto insurance reforms are working
We live in different regions of the great state of Michigan, belong to different political parties and have different priorities. One thing we have in common, though, is we both voted “yes” on legislation in 2019 to fix Michigan’s broken, outdated auto no-fault system. Our constituents are now reaping the benefits of this new law.
The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association recently announced it was lowering its per-vehicle fee by $14 to the lowest level in 19 years. The decrease marks a 60% drop in the fee over the last two years.
That shows these bipartisan reforms are working and finally bringing relief to consumers from northern Michigan to southeast Michigan.
Beginning next July, the $86 fee will only be charged to drivers who choose to keep unlimited, lifetime medical benefits with their auto insurance policy. Drivers who choose a lower tier of coverage, now available for the first time in decades, won’t pay anything. Not one penny.
One of the biggest drivers of this fee decrease is the enactment of a medical fee schedule that takes effect next summer to rein in overcharging by medical providers. Previously, hospitals and brain injury clinics had free rein to overcharge and gouge for their services — sometimes charging three to four times more than other forms of insurance for the exact same medical procedure.
Here’s an example. An investigative report by a Detroit media outlet found a brain injury clinic in Metro Detroit was charging $5,300 for an MRI if the patient was injured in a car accident. Meanwhile, a patient whose injury had nothing to do with a car crash would be charged just $500 under Medicare.
This kind of overcharging went on for decades and is one of the biggest reasons Michigan residents have been paying the highest auto insurance premiums in the country for years.
Today, we’re hearing from constituents from across our districts who are saving hundreds and even thousands of dollars on their auto insurance premiums under this new law.
If you haven’t called your insurance agent or auto insurance company to find out what options are available to you under Michigan’s reformed auto no-fault law, we urge you to do it soon and to share your experience and savings with us. Tag us on social media to share your story.
We know that buying insurance is complicated, and talking about it will help your friends and neighbors take advantage of the savings. And if you don’t like what you hear from your current company, then call a different agent or company. Shop around and see which company can offer you the policy that best fits your family’s needs and, most importantly, your budget.
The MCCA believes the new fee schedule will work and so do we, which is why we implore our colleagues in the Michigan House and Michigan Senate to ignore the siren song from certain special interests who have profited from decades of over overcharging to undo these reforms.
Stay the course. Continue to let these reforms to the broken, outdated system work so drivers can keep reaping the benefits for years to come, regardless of whether they live in Detroit or West Branch.
State Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Detroit, represents Michigan's 2nd District. State Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, represents Michigan's 103rd District.