Michigan House passed law Thursday aimed at addressing concerns about an upcoming change in the reimbursement of healthcare providers in the treatment of car injuries, despite an industry group arguing that the proposal would not go far enough in writing.
According to an amended version of Senate Law 28, passed late Thursday evening in the House of Representatives 95-13, a $ 10 million fund would be created for facilities following acute brain and spinal injuries and caregivers facing structural losses due to the upcoming changes suffer.
Payments would be on a first-come-first-serve basis and providers could only get the funds if they can provide and demonstrate information about the fees for their services when treating both auto and non-auto injuries, that they are facing a “systematic deficit” caused by changes in the flawless system of the state.
Related: Accident Victims, Healthcare Providers Shout Nastily Over Imminent Change In Medical Charges For Car Injuries
In 2019, Republican-led Legislature and Governor Gretchen Whitmer voted to overhaul Michigan’s flawless auto insurance system to cut the state’s highest costs and signed bills that were passed with broad bipartisan support.
Part of that change was to allow drivers to choose their desired level of Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which went into effect last summer – but another important part of the deal was putting in place a fee schedule for how much Fees for health care insurance providers in handling car accidents.
In July, insurance company reimbursement for health care services for survivors of car accidents not covered by Medicare will be reduced by 45% under the fee schedule set in the 2019 Act. This change, say many current post-acute care providers, will either put them out of business or force them to stop providing services to auto-accident patients. And car accident victims fear losing access to quality care.
House spokesman Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, said Thursday the fund could help lawmakers determine any issues with current policy and what to do in the future, according to Gongwer News Service.
In a post-vote statement, Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council President Tom Judd said the proposal was a bona fide effort that recognizes the problem faced by many health care providers treating car accident victims but the allocation of $ 10 million and the timeframe in which the funds would be distributed may not be enough to save some businesses.
“We appreciate the intent of this lifeline – but unfortunately the rope is not long enough to get everyone safely to shore,” said Judd. “Due to the impending losses after July 1st – with the impending interruption of supply – this program does not offer sufficient relief in time or to the extent that it is necessary for many providers, especially small businesses, to maintain operations and evict accident victims in the whole state. “
Proponents of the change say the reimbursement fee law changes are an important part of the equation when it comes to reducing car insurance rates. The Insurance Alliance of Michigan estimates that just by reducing the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association’s vehicle fee reduction, Michigan drivers saved more than $ 1 billion, excluding the individual saver drivers achieved by choosing different PIP coverage levels.
Average auto insurance rates have dropped significantly since the first phase of Michigan’s Auto Insurance Act came into effect, but it is still one of the most expensive places in the country to insure a car.
The Zebra, a national auto insurance comparison site, found in February that auto insurance rates fell 18% nationwide in Michigan and 19% in Detroit, where drivers have historically paid some of the highest auto insurance bills in the country. Michigan’s national average – $ 2,535 per year – was still well above the national average of $ 1,483 per year, and Detroit still had the highest average auto insurance rates in the US, averaging $ 5,072 per year
A recent analysis by Insure.com published in May found that auto insurance premiums in Michigan were down 27% year over year in 2020, with the highest auto insurance premiums.
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