Posted in: Commentary,
by Gregg Laskoski on Sep 12, 2013 06:00 AM
Auto insurance law has always been a little quirky in Michigan. And it might be getting even quirkier. Michigan’s no-fault law requires that drivers buy personal injury protection (PIP) with unlimited, lifetime limits on compensation for severe crash-related injuries; it is the only state in the U.S. with those limits.
But now, a new bill seeks to unhook senior citizens from the PIP requirement that covers medical expenses if they are injured in an accident.
HB 4959, introduced by Rep. Jeff Farrington (R-Utica) would exempt motorists in Michigan from the PIP mandate if they are 65 years old or older and recipients of Medicare. State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) says he's planning to introduce a Senate version of Farrington’s proposal this fall.
The lawmakers say that their bills are needed to handle an issue that is “extremely unfair to seniors on a fixed income.”
Currently, senior drivers use PIP coverage under their auto insurers to cover medical expenses if they are injured in a crash. As such, those Michigan drivers’ premiums are inflated because auto insurers there view them as bigger risks, according to the Detroit Free Press.
According to Onlineautoinsurancenews.com, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), a U.S. trade organization, is part of a massive effort to redo Michigan’s no-fault system that industry and state officials say has bloated the cost of auto coverage with excessively high medical bills.
Jeffrey Junkas, a regional manager for PCI, told Online Auto Insurance News that the organization is preparing for further talks with legislators about those reforms, many of which are contained within HB 4612, a bill that has the support of Gov. Rick Snyder and was a flashpoint of reform discussions when it was introduced in April.
Of course, there's still an elephant in the room. Exactly who pays if those seniors without PIP coverage are injured? Any guesses?