Michigan Bill Seeks to Lift PIP Requirement for Senior Drivers

A Michigan bill recently introduced to the state Legislature seeks to unhook senior citizens from state law requiring drivers to buy Michigan auto insurance that covers medical expenses if they are injured in an accident.

Michigan’s no-fault law requires that drivers buy personal injury protection (PIP) with unlimited, lifetime limits on compensation for severe crash-related injuries; it is the only state in the U.S. with those limits.

HB 4959 was introduced into the state House last week by Rep. Jeff Farrington (R-Utica) and would exempt motorists in Michigan from the PIP mandate if they are 65 years old or older and recipients of Medicare.

Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) told the Detroit Free Press that he is planning to introduce a Senate version of Farrington’s proposal this fall.

He said that an effort was needed to handle an issue that is “extremely unfair to seniors on a fixed income.”

Currently, senior drivers use PIP coverage under their auto insurers to cover medical expenses if they are injured in a crash. As such, those Michigan drivers’ premiums are inflated because auto insurers there view them as bigger risks, according to the publication.

HB 4959 currently sits in the House Insurance Committee after it was introduced last Wednesday. The proposal is now part of a wider effort by lawmakers to reexamine Michigan’s auto coverage setup.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), a U.S. trade organization, is part of a massive effort to redo Michigan’s no-fault system that industry and state officials say has bloated the cost of auto coverage with excessively high medical bills.

Jeffrey Junkas, a regional manager for PCI, told Online Auto Insurance News that the organization is preparing for further talks with legislators about those reforms, many of which are contained within HB 4612, a bill that has the support of Gov. Rick Snyder and was a flashpoint of reform discussions when it was introduced in April.

But aside from the guarantee that discussions about no-fault reforms will continue this legislative session, Junkas said that not much else is assured about “what’s in the mix of reforms.”
“[HB 4612] is really up in the air,” he said.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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