The Sky Isn’t Falling On Medical Care For Auto Injuries – Mackinac Center


Some Michigan medical providers are pushing to eliminate cost controls put in place by bipartisan auto insurance reforms starting in 2019. It was a core part of the reform, and undoing them would jeopardize the savings that millions of Michigan drivers are just beginning to realize. .

For decades, Michigan law has allowed medical providers to charge car insurers exorbitant fees for routine services and to be paid for services that no other insurance system would cover. This helped create a small industry of medical providers specializing in extremely expensive care, especially for people injured in car accidents. Why focus on car crash survivors? Because no other insurance plan would pay for these unique services, even if it covered someone with identical injuries.

The 2019 reforms capped what providers could earn for these services. Now they can only collect 55% of what they charged insurers in January 2019, before the reforms were implemented. Some of these providers are now story surprising stories the negative impact this change may have on their customers.

Some context is needed in light of these assertions. First, motor vehicle accident victims are still eligible for significant levels of care – the rate reduction applies only to services that are not coded by the federal health insurance system. Providers, in fact, can charge double Medicare rates for standard services. Road accident patients are not “lose their careas some have claimed.

Second, cost controls apply to extremely expensive services. For example, one medical provider actually provides housing for accident survivors, charging between $240,000 and $400,000 per year, and sometimes more, for these services around the clock, depending on the Detroit Free Press. This is two to three times the cost of providing similar care in a general care facility that is not primarily dependent on car insurance payments. Another provider employed nearly six employees for each of its patients. It’s hard to imagine care that could be more generous or expensive.

Finally, Governor Whitmer and the Legislature listened to these vendors last year and created a $25 million relief fund to help them transition to new cost controls. To be eligible, suppliers must demonstrate that they have a “systematic deficit.” Only a few suppliers have applied for these funds, with many complain that it’s too expensive for them to do things like submit copies of their financial records. This seems strange and one wonders if their financial difficulties are as serious as claimed.

Dealing with these auto insurance issues over and over makes it easy to forget how unique Michigan’s system was before the 2019 reforms. Most states don’t have an industry of specialized auto accident medical providers. . Instead, these patients receive the same type of care as others with similar injuries, such as those sustained while operating heavy equipment or falling from a ladder or accident. of boat. Even with the reforms, Michigan auto accident survivors will be eligible for at least the same level of care as millions of others facing similar challenges across the country. While this will require big changes for a select group of specialist medical providers, it’s not heaven falling.

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