AAA: No-fault reform would not jeopardize MCCA

With the utmost respect for Mr. Patterson, we would be doing a disservice to our members and customers if we did not respond to his assertions with the facts.

He provided his opinion about Senate Bill 248, which would change the no-fault auto insurance system in Michigan. He inferred insurance companies — led by AAA Michigan — are trying to get their hands on $20 billion held in a catastrophic accident fund. This is simply not true.

It is true AAA has been active and visible in its support of Senate Bill 248, but our campaign is rooted in the interest of insured motorists and the fact that insurance premiums have become unaffordable for too many in Michigan. Insurance reform is essential to effectively address this issue.  Without change, Michigan’s no-fault insurance system will surely fail.

AAA does not want to cut medical benefits and SB 248 will not cut anyone’s medical benefits. In fact, the bill supports keeping medical benefits currently provided by Michigan’s no-fault law, including lifetime unlimited medical benefits for anyone who is seriously injured in an auto accident. There is nothing in Senate Bill 248 that would erode this feature of the law.

We are also staunch supporters of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), where $20 billion is held in reserve to help ensure those seriously injured in auto accidents receive proper treatment and care.  MCCA is central to Michigan’s unique no-fault system, and the $20 billion that will ultimately be paid to hospitals and health care providers must not be diverted for any other purpose. There is nothing in Senate Bill 248 that would jeopardize these funds.

Bottom line, auto insurance costs are too high for too many Michigan drivers and the problem lies in rapidly rising medical costs. Today, Michigan residents routinely pay up to three times more for medical services when their auto insurance pays the bill instead of their health insurance. These costs are eventually passed on to drivers in the form of higher auto insurance premiums. To help address this inequity, SB 248 will reduce the disparity in costs paid for medical procedures between auto insurers and everyone else, while preserving the level of care currently afforded under Michigan’s no-fault system.

Steve Wagner is president of AAA Michigan.

Originally posted by the Macomb Daily