(FOX 2) – Michigan’s bipartisan 2019 auto insurance reform law that reduced rates but also zapped funding for long term care for patients critically injured in car crashes doesn’t apply to those who were receiving benefits before the bill passed, a court said Thursday.
The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the no-fault auto insurance reforms do not apply retroactively, which means the law cannot limit benefits to those severely injured.
In a 2-1 ruling delivered Thursday morning, the appeals court said the legislature had not clearly demonstrated the reforms could apply retroactively to people already injured. But even if lawmakers had done so, the court said the new limits “would substantially impair” coverage for those already in the system.
Recent studies found thousands of patients immobilized by car crashes had being discharged from care providers around the state due to a lack of funding.
The appeals court rejected arguments from the defendants in the case, two insurance companies that said the legislature had intended for the new law to apply to those injured before the effective date.
“(The) defendants fail to identify any language” within the law that says it should be applied retroactively, either explicitly or implicitly, the court said. The judges also said car crash victims who were injured before the reforms were enacted had a “legitimate expectation” that “they would receive unlimited lifetime benefits, so long as the charges were reasonable and the care reasonably necessary.”