Lansing, Mich. — There were tears, songs, memories, and pleas.
It was an emotional afternoon at the Central United Methodist Church in Lansing when dozens gathered to honor those who’ve lost their lives as what they say is a result of losing their coverage from no-fault insurance.
The new rules of that law took effect in July of last year. Now advocates are pleading with lawmakers to change it back.
Widows, daughters, sons, caretakers and faith leaders, all spoke for someone they know who lost coverage in some form or another — asking lawmakers to check their moral conscience and help families get their insurance protection back.
A family there, the Anderson’s, know about no-fault insurance all too well, after their son, Justin, got critically injured when he was hit by a car in 19-89.
“Our son had a closed head injury many years ago,” said his father, Glen Anderson. ‘We have been living under the old, regular no-fault law in Michigan for years and years.”
Michigan dropped no-fault insurance in July of 2021, and while insurance companies say this is about lowering car insurance rates, those who’ve been personally affected say it’s much bigger than that.
“All of a sudden, things changed under the guise of some sort of reforms,” Anderson said. “The things that were put in were extremely oppressive for people who’ve already been injured.”
Under the new rules, the money insurance companies reimburse medical providers was cut nearly in half. In-home care took an even bigger hit than that. Justin’s parents are now his full-time caretakers.
“If you’re a quadriplegic, you need care 24/7, (under the new law) it’s limited to 56 hours a week, so who takes care of you the rest of the time?” asked Justin’s mom, Bonnie Anderson, who organized Tuesday’s event. “How do you get out of bed? That sort of thing. We just think it’s immoral.”
Stories were shared by a number of people who, for one reason or another, lost their coverage under the new act. Some of the victims died after a caretaker wasn’t there during a critical time, others after being moved somewhere that resulted in a deadly COVID exposure.
“Each decision that was made and led to changes in the law has affected human life,” said Tom Constand, president of the Michigan Brain Injury Association. “This was the end of the road for seven of them and enough is enough.”
Erin Mcdonough, executive director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan sent a quote to 6 News, advocating for the current laws to continue.
“Auto no-fault reforms are creating savings for Michigan drivers, providing choice, reducing fraud and reining in rampant overcharging by medical providers who previously charged three and four times as much for the exact same medical procedures under the old, broken system,” she said in the statement. “More than 7 million drivers are seeing savings coming their way, anticipating $400 per-vehicle checks, and we should let these reforms keep working. so far, only a small number of individuals reported issues with their care under auto no-fault reforms and to date, open complaints only total seven. We should stay the course and let reforms keep working.”