Michigan is one of the very few states in the United States that gives
us the great advantage of providing
no-fault benefits to victims injured in automobile accidents. No-fault benefits are paid
for by the insurance company and can include reimbursement for lost wages,
attendant care, transportation costs to and from medical appointments,
and most importantly unlimited lifetime coverage for medical expenses
(resulting from a car accident).
Therefore if you suffered a life-long injury, such as a traumatic brain
injury or spinal cord injury, as a result of a Michigan automobile accident,
the auto insurance company is liable to pay for all medical expenses over
your entire lifetime. For those who have suffered such injuries, this
is a tremendous benefit as treatment and care can be costly, especially
if treatment is provided over a lifetime.
The Michigan Legislature was concerned with putting too much financial
stress on an individual insurance company and therefore developed the
Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA). The MCCA is a private, non-profit association that reimburses
insurance companies for medical bills paid out after a qualifying amount.
Currently that amount is set at $545,000.00. This means that your insurance
company pays your entire claim, but is reimbursed by the MCCA for medical
costs over $545,000.00.
Every driver in the state who has an auto insurance policy pays into the
MCCA fund through a charge on their auto insurance policy known as the
MCCA Assessment Recoupment. The assessment fee is determined by the MCCA.
As of July 1, 2015 the assessment amount is $150 per covered vehicle.
Over the years there has been much controversy over the MCCA. In fact,
despite receiving several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests,
the MCCA has refused to turn its books over to the public and reveal how
they determine assessment fees. In addition, there is a common misconception
that the fund administered by the MCAA is set up for the benefit of Michigan
auto accident victims - consumers who have paid into their insurance policy
every year to later become severely injured in an automobile accident
and need lifetime care. There is truth to the fact that victims who suffer
life-long injuries will need the financial help to receive care. However,
due to the discreetness of the MCCA, speculation that the fund is set
up for the benefit of the insurance companies who do business in Michigan
is a fair assumption.
House Bill 4752 seeks to require the MCCA to disclose more financial information. It is
unclear if this bill will pass. With pushes coming from the insurance
companies to end unlimited lifetime benefits to consumers injured in a
Michigan automobile accident, it seems unfair to decide without public
disclosure of the MCCA financials.
At Goodman Acker P.C., we see the results of catastrophic automobile accidents
every day. It is our hope that the MCCA will eventually release its books
so that the public is knowledgeable as to how the money is spent and whether
the premiums paid are adequate.