Auto insurance

AdvisaCare calls for auto insurance law reform

While changes to Michigan auto insurance policies have reduced the amount people spend on auto insurance, those who have benefited from these policies have found it harder to keep going.

Representatives of Grand Rapids-based AdvisaCare Home Health & Hospice have appeared before the Boards of Commissioners in several counties to explain the need for further reforms.

AdvisaCare offers services such as private home care, skilled/certified home care services, rehabilitation services, and working with those who have suffered catastrophic injuries. She currently has 250 clients she works with, including a handful in Huron County.

Kristy Groce, executive director of AdvisaCare, said that following changes implemented last year, their patients had to be admitted to nursing homes rather than with carers and Michiganders died due to lack of care.

“The company argues that automotive reform was needed,” Groce said. “Home care was an unintended consequence.

Michigan changed its no-fault auto insurance in May 2019, where drivers no longer had to purchase unlimited bodily injury protection to lower auto insurance premiums. Drivers can choose their level of cover according to their needs and budget and can now rely on their own health insurance to cover their medical costs.

Personal Injury Protection covers all reasonable and necessary medical expenses for a person’s life up to the maximum coverage amount selected in a policy, or unlimited if desired. The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association acts as the paymaster for the policy.

Changes to this law went into effect in July 2020. Along with other advocacy groups, AdvisaCare was one of the first home health care organizations to take action on this issue. He had conversations with lawmakers, the governor’s office, the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, and the Insurance Alliance of Michigan.

Julie Wagner, home care consultant at AdvisaCare, said that as soon as these changes were implemented, 20 other home care businesses closed and AdvisaCare tried to accommodate as many customers as possible. More than 40 businesses have since closed and some of their customers have been moved to nursing homes.

The amount caregivers were reimbursed by car insurance companies was reduced by 45%, from $32 per hour to $12 per hour. Changes to this law also limited the time carers who care for their clients 24/7 could be reimbursed, to just 56 hours per week.

“Nobody takes them, so who has to take care of them?” said Wagner. “It is the families who take care of them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now they have to quit their jobs to take care of their beloved. They don’t get paid by insurance companies because the state says you can’t work more than 56 hours a week, even if they take care of their loved ones.

AdvisaCare tries to retain its customers, but it must also pay its employees a living wage of between $14 and $18 per hour.

Brian Harrison, executive director of therapy services for AdvisaCare, said the most logical thing is to take what the state workers’ compensation law says and apply it to home health care. . Conversations are taking place to get this written down.

“It’s a proven trust system,” Harrison said. “It works for carriers looking after workers and car insurance. We think that’s something the majority of the House, the Senate, and the people of Michigan would support.

AdvisaCare representatives traveled to neighboring counties to urge their commissioners to pass resolutions calling for further no-fault reform. According to Groce, 20 Michigan counties have passed such resolutions, including Bay, Saginaw, Lapeer, Genesee and Midland counties. The two representatives plan to visit Sanilac County next.

“It’s a state problem ultimately, but it’s a solution that needs to happen,” Groce said.

Harrison said that in a perfect world, changes would be passed before the Legislative Assembly goes into summer recess, while saying they wear rose-colored glasses every day.

“You’re going to see a lot more vendors who can’t bear the burden of acting in good faith while taking a loss on finances every day,” Harrison said. “Every hour we work, we pay for this care. We feel we are on the right side of this conversation, helping families receive the care they deserve.