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Auto No-Fault Insurance Decision Helps Medical Providers

The recent Michigan Supreme Court decision in UM Regents v. Titan Insurance Company provided great benefits to medical providers and health insurers in cases involving serious car accident injuries. The MAJ has landed this decision for several reasons:

 1.      The UM Regents decision is great news for overburdened Michigan taxpayers and the Michigan health insurance system. In this case, the Supreme Court returned to the law that had been in effect for almost 30 years in Michigan which prohibited no-fault insurance companies from denying healthcare expenses for children and mentally incompetent adults simply because legal action to enforce payment of those expenses had not been filed within one year. In 2006, that long-standing protective rule was overturned by the Cameron decision. Cameron allowed insurance companies to deny payments of these expenses, thereby shifting the cost to the health insurance system or to the Michigan Medicaid program which is funded by tax dollars. The UM Regents case puts a stop to this "free ride for auto insurance companies" and places the obligation to pay for auto insurance medical care back where it belongs - on the shoulders of the auto insurance industry, which makes enormous profits collecting premiums for such claims and then gets to avoid its obligation to pay by hiding behind legal technicalities.

        2.      In the UM Regents decision, the Michigan Supreme Court recognized a fundamental concept of fairness and justice that had been completely disregarded by the Cameron case - that children and mentally incompetent persons do not have the same ability to enforce their legal rights as do able-bodied adults. That is why, for over 30 years, the Michigan appellate courts protected this class of vulnerable claimants from oppressive legal time limitations that could destroy their rights. The UM Regents case has restored these protections for children and mentally incompetent persons, thereby helping to make the playing field more level for such individuals.

        3.      Insurance companies can avoid any financial burden that might be imposed on them by the UM Regents case by simply dealing fairly and in good faith with accident victims. If insurance companies pay claims as they are required to by the Michigan no-fault law, then they will have no worries about old, unpaid claims coming back to haunt them. It is only when auto insurers ignore legitimate claims, cheat claimants, and otherwise seek to profit from the ignorance of the disadvantaged that they will have anything to fear by the UM Regents decision.
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