insurance http://michiganradio.org en Changes in store for no-fault insurance coverage? http://michiganradio.org/post/changes-store-no-fault-insurance-coverage <p>The Michigan Supreme Court has set some new limits on expenses that can be claimed under auto no-fault insurance coverage by people injured in car crashes.&nbsp;</p><p>Kenneth Admire used handicapped-accessible vans since a 1987 auto accident. Three times before, his insurance company paid the entire cost of the modified vehicles.</p><p>This last time, though, the company said it would pay for the modifications, but Admire has to buy the van.</p> Fri, 24 May 2013 19:10:52 +0000 Rick Pluta 12729 at http://michiganradio.org Changes in store for no-fault insurance coverage? Insurer: Flint arson ring operated for 2 decades http://michiganradio.org/post/insurer-flint-arson-ring-operated-2-decades <p>FLINT, Mich. (AP) - An insurance company says more than a dozen people operated an arson-for-profit ring in Flint that collected more than $2 million over two decades.<br><br>The Flint Journal reports State Farm Insurance says in a lawsuit in Detroit federal court that fires purposely were started at homes owned or rented by members of the group. The insurer says insurance claims were filed to receive thousands of dollars in insurance payouts.<br><br>No criminal charges have been filed against any of those named the case.<br><br>The case has sparked counter lawsuits by some of the defendants. Six of those named in the State Farm lawsuit have settled, including Flint-based public adjustment company Allied and Associates and Gary Lappin, its president. He calls the case "witch hunt."<br><br>State Farm isn't discussing the case. Thu, 11 Apr 2013 13:28:46 +0000 The Associated Press 12094 at http://michiganradio.org Insurer: Flint arson ring operated for 2 decades Michigan motorcyclists wait for the governor to decide on major change to state helmet law http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-motorcyclists-wait-governor-decide-major-change-state-helmet-law <p>Time is running out for Governor Snyder to decide if he&rsquo;ll sign a major change to Michigan&rsquo;s motorcycle helmet law.</p><p>The governor has until Monday to decide if he will OK the change which would allow riders over 21 to ride without a helmet for the first time since the 1970&rsquo;s.</p><p>Rusty Bongard is the spokesman for ABATE, a group of Michigan bikers who have&nbsp; been lobbying for the helmet law&rsquo;s repeal.&nbsp; &nbsp;He says they&rsquo;re not just waiting to see if the governor will sign the helmet bill into law.</p> Thu, 12 Apr 2012 20:16:39 +0000 Steve Carmody 7028 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan motorcyclists wait for the governor to decide on major change to state helmet law Former Michigan lawmaker: No-fault insurance bill attempts to circumvent voters http://michiganradio.org/post/former-michigan-lawmaker-no-fault-insurance-bill-attempts-circumvent-voters <p><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">A state House panel will begin public hearings tomorrow (Tuesday) on whether Michigan should make some big changes to the mandatory no fault auto </span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">insurance law.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">The</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;"> controversial proposal would let drivers choose their level of </span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">coverage.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">The</span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;"> proposal also includes a $50,000 appropriation to implement the law in such a way as to make it referendum-proof.</span></p><p style="margin-left:.5in"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">Former state Representative Jim Howell says that money is in the bill to prevent </span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">voters from overturning the measure on the ballot. </span></p><p style="margin-left: 0.5in;"><em><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">&quot;You know, I saw that appropriation, I knew what was going on with it. Very honestly &ndash; unless some of the current representatives have read about it some place, or heard it in the media, they wouldn&rsquo;t have any clue,&quot; said Howell.</span></em></p><p><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Howell said he thinks term limits prevent new lawmakers from understanding the </span><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">content of a major proposal such as the no fault elimination bills</span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">.</span></p><p><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;">Howell said they probably don&rsquo;t remember that voters rejected similar changes to no fault insurance by a significant margin in the early 1990s.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">The former Republican lawmaker will testify against the proposal tomorrow (Tuesday).</span> Mon, 03 Oct 2011 21:58:05 +0000 Laura Weber 4419 at http://michiganradio.org Former Michigan lawmaker: No-fault insurance bill attempts to circumvent voters No-fault insurance changes could shift cost to taxpayers http://michiganradio.org/post/no-fault-insurance-changes-could-shift-cost-taxpayers <p>Tomorrow (TUES.) the Michigan legislature holds the first hearings on bills that would change the state&rsquo;s no-fault auto insurance.&nbsp; Legislators say auto insurance is too high and they want to allow people to buy less coverage.&nbsp;</p><p>Right now, people who buy car insurance in Michigan also have to purchase something called Personal Injury Protection.&nbsp; But, Representative Pete Lund says drivers who don&#39;t want the coverage should by law be able to pay for something less.</p><p><em>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s good to give people the options in life.&rdquo;</em></p> Mon, 03 Oct 2011 10:00:00 +0000 Lester Graham 4406 at http://michiganradio.org No-fault insurance changes could shift cost to taxpayers No-fault insurance coverage could not cover medical marijuna under Michigan bill http://michiganradio.org/post/no-fault-insurance-coverage-could-not-cover-medical-marijuna-under-michigan-bill <p>People injured in auto crashes would not be allowed to use their no-fault coverage to pay for medical marijuana to treat chronic pain under a bill approved by a legislative committee.</p><p>The measure is one of several proposed new restrictions to Michigan&rsquo;s medical marijuana law.</p><p>The law was enacted by voters in 2008.</p><p>Peter Kuhnmuench is with the Insurance Institute of Michigan, which supports the measure. He says insurance coverage was not supposed to be part of the medical marijuana law.</p><p><em>&quot;So I think it&rsquo;s pretty clear, yes, they want to utilize this is as a medical procedure, but at the same hand, not force any carrier to cover it as a covered service.&quot;</em></p><p>Kuhnmuench&nbsp; says the bill would not prohibit someone from buying additional coverage that might pay for medical marijuana.</p><p>Medical marijuana patients say the law should not specifically ban one treatment for people facing chronic pain from an injury. Tue, 27 Sep 2011 21:12:03 +0000 Rick Pluta 4334 at http://michiganradio.org Snyder to focus on wellness, prevention in healthcare message http://michiganradio.org/post/snyder-focus-wellness-prevention-healthcare-message <p>Governor Rick Snyder will ask Michiganders to quit smoking, lose weight and eat better in a health care message tomorrow that&rsquo;s expected to focus on wellness and disease prevention.</p><p>The speech is expected to focus as much on identifying the problems as outlining solutions that won&rsquo;t cost taxpayers a lot of money.</p><p>The Governor is expected to acknowledge there is not a whole lot government can do to make people live healthier lives. Tue, 13 Sep 2011 21:33:18 +0000 Rick Pluta 4143 at http://michiganradio.org Snyder to focus on wellness, prevention in healthcare message Changes coming to Michigan's no-fault auto insurance? http://michiganradio.org/post/changes-coming-michigans-no-fault-auto-insurance <p>A fight is brewing at the state Capitol over whether Michigan&rsquo;s no-fault auto insurance law should be changed.</p><p>Backers of the legislation want drivers to be able to opt out of coverage that provides unlimited lifetime benefits for the most severely injured accident victims.</p><p>Pete Kuhnmuench, with the Insurance Institute of Michigan, says the option would save people money:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;We think putting more money back in the pockets of the consumers we think now is the right time to do that, given our economics,&quot; says Kuhnmuench.</p></blockquote><p>A study commissioned by the measure&rsquo;s opponents says most drivers would choose to underinsure themselves to save money.</p><p>The study says that would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Tue, 06 Sep 2011 22:06:51 +0000 Laura Weber 4048 at http://michiganradio.org Poll: Most oppose changes to Michigan's no-fault personal injury protection http://michiganradio.org/post/poll-most-oppose-changes-michigans-no-fault-personal-injury-protection <p>This morning, Michigan Radio&#39;s Lester Graham <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/consequences-eliminating-mandatory-no-fault-auto-insurance">released a story</a> highlighting what could be at stake if changes are made to the personal injury protection portion of Michigan&#39;s no-fault insurance requirements.</p><p>Michigan Senators Joseph Hune (R-22nd district) and <a href="http://senate.mi.gov/Smith/">Virgil Smith</a> (D-4th district) have <a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/%28S%28zb55wwf2v31qei45ynuoi245%29%29/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&amp;objectname=2011-SB-0293&amp;query=on">sponsored legislation</a> that would end the mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of Michigan&#39;s no-fault auto insurance law.</p><p>It means that Michigan drivers could choose what level of personal injury protection insurance they would like to buy.</p><p>Under the bills, drivers could cap their personal injury protection insurance at $50,000 - a fraction of the coverage needed should they be in serious accident.&nbsp; It would also mean they would not pay into and not be eligible for funds from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association fund, which makes the unlimited, lifetime benefits for people severely injured in a auto accident possible.</p><p>Now, a new poll sponsored by a group fighting these bills, the <a href="http://www.cpan.us/announcements/michigan-voters-oppose-cuts-to-auto-injury-benefits">Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault</a>, finds the majority of Michigan voters don&#39;t want the changes.</p><p>From their press release:</p><blockquote><p>The telephone survey of 600 voters by Chicago-based Glengariff Group found that 62 percent of those polled oppose limits on the amount of medical and rehabilitation care an accident victim could receive from their auto insurer; 27 percent support limits on medical and rehabilitation benefits and 11 percent were unsure. Of those opposed to limiting medical and rehabilitation auto injury benefits, 43 percent indicated strong opposition.</p></blockquote><p>The Coalition&#39;s press release says &quot;if auto insurers no longer covered injury costs for those suffering catastrophic injuries &ndash; which can cost tens of millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime &ndash; medical costs would shift from insurance companies and onto the taxpayer-funded Medicaid insurance program once family assets were depleted.&quot;</p><p>The bill to make changes to Michigan no-fault insurance law is expected to be taken up by the legislature early in September. Mon, 29 Aug 2011 19:26:34 +0000 Mark Brush 3949 at http://michiganradio.org Insuring a Happy 4th of July Holiday http://michiganradio.org/post/insuring-happy-4th-july-holiday <p>State insurance officials are urging Michiganders to keep their financial liability in mind when they host Independence Day festivities this weekend.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The Fourth of July weekend, a time to fire up the barbecue, take friends on the pontoon boat and toss the kids in the back yard pool.&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,1607,7-154-10555-258474--,00.html">&nbsp;But are you covered just in case something goes wrong?&nbsp; </a></p> Sat, 02 Jul 2011 20:01:01 +0000 Steve Carmody 3128 at http://michiganradio.org Insuring a Happy 4th of July Holiday Federal officials and insurance groups against helmet law repeal http://michiganradio.org/post/federal-officials-and-insurance-groups-against-helmet-law-repeal <p>Federal officials are trying to talk Michigan political leaders out of repealing the state&#39;s motorcycle helmet law. Members of the National Transportation Safety Board are in Lansing today to meet with Governor Snyder&#39;s administration.</p><p>Insurance groups are also getting involved. Laurie Conarton is with the Insurance Institute of Michigan. She says more people will be injured or die if the law is repealed:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;After Florida repealed their helmet law, there were 81% more fatalities and 80% more closed head injuries.&quot;</p> Fri, 24 Jun 2011 19:19:19 +0000 Tracy Samilton 3016 at http://michiganradio.org Federal officials and insurance groups against helmet law repeal New health insurance options for people with preexisting conditions http://michiganradio.org/post/new-health-insurance-options-people-preexisting-conditions <p>People with pre-existing medical conditions now have the option of paying lower premiums and higher deductibles if they enroll with <a href="http://www.hipmichigan.com/">Michigan&rsquo;s Health Insurance Program</a>.</p><p>State officials are trying to get more people to take advantage of the program that is a precursor to national health care reforms taking effect in 2014.</p><p>Eric Schneidewind, president of the Michigan chapter of <a href="http://www.aarp.org/states/mi/">AARP</a>, says only a few hundred people have enrolled with the program so far.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s a new program, for one thing, and they just don&rsquo;t know it exists. And so they aren&rsquo;t aware of it, they haven&rsquo;t taken advantage of it, and so it&rsquo;s really potentially a very good deal for a person who has a chronic condition of health&mdash;bad health.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Schneidewind hopes offering the lower premium and higher deductible will encourage thousands of people to enroll. He says hundreds-of-thousands of people in Michigan are eligible.</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I&rsquo;ve run across members who have tragic stories about themselves or their children who really probably died prematurely because they couldn&rsquo;t get adequate health care for a chronic condition. What I&rsquo;m telling our members at AARP and elsewhere, there now is an option, it is affordable.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>The health care company that runs the pool recently got federal approval for a plan to bring down rates that can still be hundreds of dollars a month. The new plan allows people with preexisting conditions to pay higher deductibles and lower premiums than were previously offered.</p><p>Michigan is one of a group of states suing the federal government to opt out of national health care reform. Mon, 18 Apr 2011 21:37:35 +0000 Laura Weber 2121 at http://michiganradio.org New health insurance options for people with preexisting conditions State House might vote on domestic partner benefits today http://michiganradio.org/post/state-house-might-vote-domestic-partner-benefits-today <p>Last January, the <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mdcs">Michigan Civil Service Commission</a> approved domestic partner benefits for state employees. The benefits were scheduled to go into effect on October 1st.</p><p>The ruling went against the Snyder administration&#39;s wishes, and the state legislature has been working to overturn the ruling. The State Senate passed a resolution against the domestic partner benefit ruling earlier this month.</p><p>Today, the State House is expected to vote on a resolution which would overrule the MCSC&#39;s January decision.</p><p>Todd Heywood wrote about the resolution in today&#39;s <a href="http://michiganmessenger.com/47558/house-to-act-tuesday-on-domestic-partners-resolution">Michigan Messenger</a>:</p><blockquote><p>If the House approves the measure, it will be the first time in the history of the MCSC that a decision by the body was overturned by the legislature. Republicans are also seeking a ballot initiative to remove the MCSC from the state constitution, and in the meantime has been working to strip the body of much of its power.</p></blockquote><p>Heywood reports &quot;the House currently has a 63 member GOP majority. But approving this resolution requires a two-thirds super majority, which means 74 votes, so 11 Democrats need to cross party lines in order for the bill to pass.&quot;</p><p>As <a href="http://news.michiganradio.org/post/commission-approves-partner-benefits-over-snyder-administration-objections">MPRN&#39;s Rick Pluta reported</a>, the Snyder administration said it objected to MCSC&#39;s decision because of the cost - estimated at around $6 million.</p><p>The rules were expected to cover 70% of all state employees. Their unmarried partners and dependents who have lived with them for a year or more would be eligible for the benefits. The eligibility is the equal for gay and heterosexual couples.</p><p>The benefits had to be equally available to gay and heterosexual couples because 59% of Michigan voters passed a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004. The &quot;defense of marriage amendment&quot; is now part of the <a href="http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/historical/miconstitution1850.htm">Michigan Constitution</a>. Tue, 22 Mar 2011 14:42:28 +0000 Mark Brush 1742 at http://michiganradio.org State House might vote on domestic partner benefits today Michigan auto insurance rates among the nation's highest http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-auto-insurance-rates-among-nations-highest <p>In one study, Michigan had the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. In another, Michigan ranked 11th in the nation.</p><p>That&#39;s according to a piece from Dawson Bell at the <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20110322/NEWS06/103220383/1001/news">Detroit Free Press</a>. Bell writes both studies cited &quot;the state&#39;s unique mandate for unlimited coverage for personal injuries as a primary cause for high rates.&quot;</p><p>From the article:</p><blockquote><p><br />Michigan auto insurance rates led the country -- $2,541 a year for a hypothetical 40-year-old man with a clean driving record -- in an annual survey released last week by the consumer insurance information site insure.com.<br /><br />The Michigan rate jumped more than 21% from the same survey a year earlier, overtaking Louisiana, which topped the list last year.<br /><br />Vermont, at $995 a year, was the cheapest place to buy auto insurance, the survey found. Tue, 22 Mar 2011 11:59:42 +0000 Mark Brush 1738 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan auto insurance rates among the nation's highest State Senate votes to reverse unmarried partner benefits http://michiganradio.org/post/state-senate-votes-reverse-unmarried-partner-benefits <p>The Michigan Senate has voted by a super-majority to reverse a state <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mdcs">Civil Service Commission</a> decision that would allow unmarried state employees to claim domestic partners on their health insurance.</p><p>Earlier this year, a state employment panel <a href="http://news.michiganradio.org/post/commission-approves-partner-benefits-over-snyder-administration-objections">approved unmarried partner benefits</a> that would include people in same-sex relationships and their dependents.</p><p>Republican state Senator Mark Jansen says the state can&rsquo;t afford it &ndash; and voters have already spoken about domestic partner benefits by refusing to recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;This is about economics. This is about our budget. This is about getting Michigan back on track.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>But, Democratic state Senator Rebekah Warren says rejecting domestic partner benefits would hurt children.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Families are always stronger when health insurance is accessible to everyone in the household.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>The measure now goes to the state House, where Republicans will have to muster a two-thirds majority vote to reverse the policy. Otherwise, state employees will be able to claim unmarried partners on their benefits starting October first. Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:40:47 +0000 Rick Pluta 1579 at http://michiganradio.org State Senate votes to reverse unmarried partner benefits Same-sex health insurance issue expected to be discussed today http://michiganradio.org/post/same-sex-health-insurance-issue-expected-be-discussed-today <p><strong>Update 11:43 a.m.:</strong></p><p>The state Civil Service Commission has approved agreements to allow state employees to put their live-in partners on their insurance plans, Rick Pluta reports.</p><blockquote><p>The commission's action&nbsp;ratifies agreements that were worked out between Governor Jennifer Granholm's administration with two state&nbsp;employee unions and state workers who are not part of a union. The commission acted over the objections of Governor Rick Snyder's administration.</p></blockquote><p><strong>8:20 a.m.:</strong></p><p>It’s expected that <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mdcs">The Michigan Civil Service Commission</a> will take up a measure today that would extend health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of state employees, The Detroit News reports. As the News <a href="http://detnews.com/article/20110126/POLITICS02/101260339/1024/POLITICS03/Snyder-expected-to-argue-against-same-sex-benefits">explains</a>:</p><blockquote><p>An attempt to push through the change in the waning days of the Granholm administration failed when the commission tabled the issue in December. Now, the new administration of Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to tell the commission today the state can't afford the change — expected to cost close to $6 million a year…</p><p>The four-member commission is split on the issue, as are unions for state employees who are bracing for anticipated fights on wage and benefit issues viewed as higher priorities. Employee benefits for same-sex partners were negotiated in 2004, shortly before Michigan voters passed a ballot initiative that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Wed, 26 Jan 2011 16:49:03 +0000 Zoe Clark 1013 at http://michiganradio.org More on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan lawsuit http://michiganradio.org/post/more-blue-cross-blue-shield-michigan-lawsuit <p>The <a href="http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/atr/speeches/2010/at-speech-101018.html">U.S. Department of Justice</a> along with the <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,1607,7-164-46849-245446--,00.html">Michigan Attorney General&#39;s</a> office filed a lawsuit against <a href="http://www.bcbsm.com/">Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan</a>.</p><p>U.S. Department of Jusitice Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney Holds said:</p> Mon, 18 Oct 2010 18:52:35 +0000 Mark Brush 162 at http://michiganradio.org More on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan lawsuit Health care consumer protections take effect today http://michiganradio.org/post/health-care-consumer-protections-take-effect-today <p>New <a href="http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb10-144.html">census data</a> says 16.7% of Americans are without health insurance:</p><blockquote><p>The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 46.3 million in 2008 to 50.7 million in 2009</p></blockquote><p>But starting today, that will change for many without coverage, including young adults and kids with pre-existing conditions.</p> Thu, 23 Sep 2010 21:38:00 +0000 Mark Brush 104 at http://michiganradio.org Health care consumer protections take effect today