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In the wake of the No-Fault Reform discussion, GOP Representative Peter Lund has proposed yet another change to the Michigan Auto No-Fault Assigned Claims Plan. The change creates an obstacle course for accident victims and shifts millions of dollars onto Medicaid and Michigan taxpayers.
The Michigan Auto No-Fault Assigned Claims Plan creates a safety net for anyone who is hurt in a motor vehicle accident without no-fault auto insurance. It does not cover auto owners who break the law by driving without state-required insurance. Instead, it covers people who do not have cars in their households.
Lund’s House Bill 5854 has one purpose: to make it harder for accident victims and their medical providers to access no-fault benefits through the Assigned Claims Plan. It does this by erecting technical barriers and procedural obstacles before eligible victims’ bills will be paid.
Under the proposed changes, it wouldn’t matter if an accident victim actually qualified for benefits under the fund. Victims must show that they had exercised “due diligence” to prove their eligibility before any benefits will be paid.
The new bill creates a specific claim form provided by the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility. The form will require claimants to show “satisfactory proof of loss,” but leaves the decision of what is “satisfactory” completely up to the facility. If a patient doesn’t fill out the form the right way, the facility has the absolute right to deny payment, cutting the patient off from a lifetime no-fault benefits.
Under the new bill, claimants will also have to cooperate with the facility and undergo examinations under oath and by insurer-selected physicians before receiving any benefit. There is no limit to the number or extent of those examinations.
Accident victims under the new bill will be required to do all of this within 1 year of the accident. By tightening the time limits, this bill will cut off more people who don’t know what they need to do after an accident, and will make it harder for doctors and hospitals to get paid. This will pass more medical costs on to the taxpayers through programs like Medicaid, which will have to pick up the tab.
HB 5854 is a No-Fault Reform that hurts accident victims by forcing them to maneuver through red tape to collect benefits that they are clearly eligible for. It makes it harder to collect benefits and requires that the process move faster, which will increase lawsuits and attorney fees. If you believe our most vulnerable populations deserve better, tell your representative to vote NO on Michigan’s Auto No-Fault Assigned Claims Plan.
David Christensen is a no-fault auto accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He helps the victims of car crashes get the recovery they deserve. If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.