MI Court of Appeals hears case on how new no-fault law should be applied

Posted at 9:19 AM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 09:19:57-04

DETROIT, Mich. — Michigan Court of Appeals judges heard arguments Tuesday regarding on a case involving how the state's no-fault auto reform law is meant to be applied, specifically in regards to crash survivors who purchased policies and were injured before the new law went into effect in July 2021.

The case before the three appellate judges in Detroit was brought by crash survivors Ellen Andary of East Lansing, Philip Krueger of Ann Arbor, and the Eisenhower Center, a brain injury rehabilitation clinic, against USAA Casualty Insurance.

Under the new law, which took effect on July 2, 2021, any medical service not already covered under our federal Medicare law, which includes in-home caregivers and transportation to medical services, will now only be reimbursed by insurance companies at 55% of what they were back in 2019. The law also caps the number of hours that family members can provide care to just 56 hours a week.

The main question at hand in the case being heard Tuesday is whether or not those changes should apply to those who purchased no-fault insurance policies and were injured before it took effect.

"The central point is the fact that long ago, the plaintiffs in this case, purchased auto no-fault insurance policies that would not legally permit the enforcement of the benefit cuts that are contained in this new legislation," said George Sinas, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case. "In other words, the plaintiffs purchased contractual rights to the payment of medical benefits without regard to fee schedules, and without regard to limitations on the reimbursement of family-provided attendant care."

A decision from the appeals court could take anywhere between 1 month and 6 months from now.

There are roughly 18,000 Michiganders currently receiving medical benefits from their auto no-fault policies.

A report, conducted by the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) and commissioned by the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI), was conducted between September and October of 2021.

According to their findings, 1,548 crash survivors have lost access to care since the most recent portion of the no-fault reform went into effect in July of 2021.

3,049 medical-care employees have lost their jobs.

96 care companies say they are no longer able to accept patients with auto no-fault insurance benefits, while 140 said they have had to "significantly reduce" their services.

21 care companies have had to completely shut down.

FOX 17's Coverage of No-Fault Auto Reform Care Crisis
May 17, 2021 — New Law Could Have Devastating Consequences
June 2, 2021 — "We're Paying the Price With Our Lives": FOX 17 Extended Coverage
June 9, 2021 — Hundreds of Survivors Protest at Capitol
June 10, 2021 — Rep. Berman Introduces Bill to Prevent Cuts
June 23, 2021 — Advocates Rally Again at Capitol
June 26, 2021 — House Approves $10M Fund
June 30, 2021 — Advocates Say $25M Isn't Enough
July 7, 2021 — Family Scared to Lose Caregivers
July 23, 2021 — Providers Begin Closing their Doors
Aug. 4, 2021 — Patients Continue to Lose Care
Sept. 24, 2021 — Changes Causing Chaos for Survivors
Sept. 27, 2021 — 'We Can't Wait' ArtPrize Entry Highlights Care Crisis
Oct. 4, 2021 — Protest Outside Business of SML Shirkey
Oct. 14, 2021 — Some Insurers Not Following Intent of Law
Oct. 27, 2021 — New Round of Bills Announced
Jan. 11, 2022— Report Says No Fault Reform Created Crisis of Care
May 18, 2022— After Clinton Co. Court Decision, Crash Survivors Still Pushing for No-Fault Insurance Law Fix

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