Hune: Auto insurance reforms about protecting drivers

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg, issued the following statement on no-fault insurance reform on Tuesday evening:

“Recently, I introduced legislation to provide auto insurance rate relief to Michigan drivers that was approved by the state Senate. One of the most common concerns from Michigan drivers is the high cost of auto insurance.

“Michigan drivers pay an average of $1,711 per car for auto insurance in Michigan. In Detroit, the cost is significantly higher. In states surrounding Michigan, drivers pay much less, including: Ohio ($713); Indiana ($723); Illinois ($805); and Wisconsin ($666).

“Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation spread about what my bill, Senate Bill 248, does and does not do. SB 248 will not end or limit benefits for those injured in car accidents. In fact, Michigan drivers will continue to receive the highest benefits in the country: unlimited, lifetime medical benefits.

“SB 248 does implement some cost savings by providing that auto insurance companies will reimburse health care providers at a level just above other types of insurance payers. Currently, auto insurance companies can pay up to three or four times higher for the same medical treatment as other types of insurance payers. Under the bill, auto insurers will still pay medical providers above what other payers pay, but with some consistency at 150 percent of the Medicare rate for the same product or service.

“SB 248 also addresses a concern of the public that the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) is not transparent. The bill would create a new catastrophic fund that would be operated by health care providers and open to the public. This new fund does not change the unlimited, lifetime medical benefit provided to Michigan drivers.

“During legislative debate, SB 248 was amended to guarantee rate savings to consumers of $100 per car, or approximately $700 million statewide, per year for two years. In addition to these savings, the legislation would create a statewide fraud authority to decrease fraud in the system, again saving money for consumers.

“This bill is not new nor has it been rushed through the Legislature. This topic and similar legislation have been debated within the Legislature during each of the past three legislative sessions. So, we can continue to do nothing while the cost of auto insurance continues to rise, or we can enact these reasonable reforms and continue to provide Michigan drivers with the best medical benefits in the country at a lower cost.”