Michigan is a no-fault state which requires all drivers to purchase no-fault auto insurance which includes lifetime benefits for serious auto injuries. It is currently the only state in the U.S to have these unlimited benefits. Republican Jeff Farrington (Utica) introduced HB 4959 in early September and he is attempting to exclude senior citizens from receiving no fault medical benefits for life. Currently, Michigan drivers that are senior citizens use personal injury protection coverage just like any and all other drivers in the State. This bill aims to lift the PIP requirement for only the senior drivers which are 65 years of age or older.
Don’t be fooled, this is definitely not helping anybody except for the large insurance companies. Senator Rick Jones (Grand Ledge) said this bill is needed to help an issue that is “extremely unfair to seniors on a fixed income.” This may sound like he’s trying to help senior citizens, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. These legislators view senior citizens as high risk and blame large inflated auto premiums on the elderly instead of on a broken system.
This is an obvious move to decrease the costs of providing medical benefits to those seriously injured in an auto accident, but it does so at the expense of senior citizens who have been paying auto premiums longer than anyone! This is simply another attempt to disguise the fact that insurance companies want to charge high premiums for no fault auto insurance while at the same time not paying out the medical benefits that their “customers” deserve and expect. This bill will put senior drivers at a major disadvantage if they ever encounter serious injuries resulting from an accident.
If this bill were to pass, the drivers who no longer can receive no fault medical expenses will be forced to turn to the only current alternative….MediCare. While MediCare will pay some of the expenses, they will not cover all the expenses like no fault benefits do. There will be a major gap between what MediCare pays and the actual medical expenses. So who is going to pay this difference or gap? It’s you the Michigan Taxpayer. The insurance company is shifting the burden of these expenses from themselves to Michigan taxpayers, sounds like a great deal right? It certainly is for the numerous auto insurance companies who will directly profit from this bill.
The most frightening part of this bill is that it promotes senior drivers to trade away their rights to collect third party benefits. This bill will give Medicare full subrogations rights of any recovery the senior driver may receive. If this bill is passed, senior drivers will no longer have the constitutional right to sue a negligent driver which caused the auto accident.