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Providers say it's unfair some crash victims will get care and others won't, even after court ruling

 Michigan's new auto no fault law is leaving catastrophically injured auto accident survivors without care
Tracy Samilton
Michigan's new auto no fault law is leaving catastrophically injured auto accident survivors without care

Medical care providers for car crash victims say a recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling is a relief, but it still leaves too many people without care.

The state's highest court says insurance payment caps in Michigan's 2019 auto no-fault law don't apply to people injured before the law passed.

Bob Mlynarek is a co-owner of First Call Home Healthcare. He said that's very good news for the 50 crash victims his company cares for — all were injured before the law went into effect. He would have had to discharge them as clients had the court decided the caps applied retroactively.

But Mlynarek said he has to turn newly severely injured crash survivors away. That's because the 2019 law set future insurance company payments below the cost of providing care.

"Everybody should be fighting for the future survivors, because it could be you," Mlynarek said. "It could happen to any of us. It could be your daughter, your son, your mom, your dad."

John Beattie is director of Inspire Home Care. He said without the high court's ruling, his company would have had to discharge its auto insurance clients due to financial losses. The company is now accepting all pre-2019 reform auto insurance clients for home health aide services, nursing, and therapy.

"Sadly now, when someone that was injured in an auto accident calls, we have to find out if they were injured after the reform," he said. "If they were injured post-reform, we can't afford to provide services to them — unless the insurer negotiates a fair and reasonable rate with us."

Beattie said so far, not a single auto insurer has been willing to negotiate a reasonable rate with his company. He said that often leaves the insurance company's injured customer without medical care.

"Lawmakers have to fix this when they get back to Lansing," he said.

The Insurance Alliance of Michigan continues to oppose any modifications to the 2019 law, claiming any change will defeat the cost savings enabled by the law.

But Michigan is still the most expensive for car insurance in the nation, according to several consumer websites.

Copyright 2023 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.