Coalition asks TV stations to pull deceptive ads off the air

Michigan Health and Hospitals Association is spending millions on TV ads falsely claiming no-fault reform legislation will cut benefits

Lansing, Mich. – A coalition of organizations supporting no-fault reform is sending letters from their attorneys today asking televisions across the state to refrain from airing TV ads produced by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) that falsely claim that no-fault accident patients will lose their benefits if Senate Bill 248 passes. The ads are part of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to stop the passage of legislation that will set fair and reasonable limits for the costs of medical services received by auto accident victims but will not reduce benefits.

“The ad campaign is a deliberate attempt to misinform and mislead Michigan residents on the content and effect of Senate Bill 248,” said Tom Shields, spokesperson for the Coalition of Auto Insurance Reform. “The legislation clearly protects the unlimited benefits of auto accident patients while reducing costs by stopping the Michigan hospitals and other medical providers from gouging auto accident patients.

“It is a shame that Michigan hospitals have resorted to lies and scare tactics to protect their practice of overbilling [auto accident] patients by two to three times more than they accept from other patients. Senate Bill 248 continues providing unlimited coverage for accident victims but puts cost controls in place that will lower the cost of auto insurance for all Michigan drivers.”

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association started their misinformation campaign three weeks ago, spending an estimated $2 million dollars in statewide TV ads claiming the no-fault reform Senate Bill 248 would cut benefits. The first ad featured auto accident victim Katie Steele claiming the proposed legislation would prevent her from receiving physical therapy. This commercial was actually produced more than 2 years ago when the legislature was considering a $1 million cap on no-fault benefits. Her comments have nothing to do with the current legislation. Under Senate Bill 248, Katie Steele would receive all the physical therapy she needs, but at the same price other patients pay. They have since added another two ads to the campaign making similar claims.

The letter sent to the stations from the Dykema law firm states, “We ask that, in the public interest and in support of positive political discourse, you refrain from broadcasting any of these three advertisements until the false and misleading statements, which are not in the public interest, are removed.”

“The Michigan Health and Hospital Association is lying to their patients, Michigan drivers and the Michigan legislators,” continued Shields. “Their overcharging practices have driven up the cost of no-fault insurance forcing over 1 million Michigan drivers to go uninsured.”

Senate Bill 248 facts:

  1. Establishes a fraud Bureau to reduce auto insurance fraud. Michigan is the only one of seven states that does not have a fraud unit.
  2. Reorganizes the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) to be more open, transparent and controlled by the public while protecting the care for auto accident patients.
  3. Establishes a reasonable fee schedule that reimburses medical providers at the rate of 150% of the Medicare reimbursement schedule. This is slightly higher than most commercial insurers pay.
  4. Sets reasonable limits for family members to receive a maximum of $131,500 per year for providing basic care to another family member.
  5. Guarantees a minimum savings to every driver of $100 per car insured for the next two years. This is a $700 million savings for Michigan families without reducing benefits.

A recent study by insure.com just placed Michigan as the most expensive state for auto insurance in the nation – 136 percent higher than the national average.

A copy of the letter going to all stations can be found by clicking here.

###

The Coalition for Auto Insurance Reform includes: The Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Insurance Agents Association, Michigan Professional Insurance Agents, Michigan Insurance Coalition, Insurance Institute of Michigan, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, American Insurance Association, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and Property Casualty Insurers Association of Michigan.