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On April 30, 2015, Mayor Mike Duggan revealed his “D-Insurance” proposal – an alternative no fault auto insurance that he believes will be more affordable for the citizens of Detroit. But the proposal does nothing to cut premiums and instead undercuts the protection Detroiters really need.
Duggan’s proposal would ask legislators to let Detroiters buy a “Qualified No-Fault Policy.” This “qualified” policy uses low caps and limited options to undercut protections available to Detroit residents on the theory that these cuts will result in lower rates. But there is no guarantee of savings to Detroit.
After an auto accident, Detroiters would be entitled to a mere $250,000 in “critical care,” which the plan defines as:
“[T]reatment rendered at an acute care hospital or trauma center immediately following the motor vehicle accident, necessary to save the patient’s life or treat life threatening or permanently disabling injuries, until the patient is stabilized. A patient is stabilized when the patient can safely be discharged or transferred to another acute care hospital or trauma center, rehabilitation or other facility, regardless of whether the patient is, in fact, discharged or transferred at that time.”
Once a patient has been stabilized, or the money is exhausted, the flow cuts off.
As soon as the patient could be transferred, a Detroiter on the D-Insurance policy is limited to a paltry $25,000 in continuing care. This amount must cover everything from broken bones to brain injuries, replacement services, and attendant care. The cap is per-accident, so if a Detroit resident’s family is injured, they will all be pulling from the same tiny pool of resources.
The Michigan No-Fault Insurance Act covers all of an injured motorist’s medical expenses, no matter how expensive. To cover the most serious of these injuries, a Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), is funded by the state’s auto insurance providers.
But under the “D-Insurance” proposal, Detroit residents would be cut off from the MCCA. When their medical expenses outstrip their low medical benefit caps, they will be on the hook for the rest of their treatments. They may not even be able to sue the at-fault driver for the shortfall.
The Michigan No Fault Insurance Act promises to take care of the state’s residents after a car crash. But Duggan’s D-Insurance would take that promise away from the residents of Detroit. By stripping away their medical benefits in the name of possible (but not promised) savings, the Qualified No-Fault Policy creates a second class of Michigan residents, not entitled to that guarantee.
Do you think that D-Insurance is worth the loss of benefits? Would you buy a qualified policy if it was offered? Sound off in the comments.
David Christensen is an auto accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.