Commentary: Gilbert lobbyist Jared Fleisher explains why auto insurance reform isn’t perfect, but is making progress
Let us now turn to this second, but undoubtedly important, part of the story of the reform.
Attendant care generally refers to non-medical or non-rehabilitative care services that meet a person’s personal care needs.
Under the pre-reform system, the cost of attendant care – either in a residential facility or by home help or a family member – was many times higher than under any other form of cover, if other payers covered it. .
For example, residential facilities serving people with unlimited auto insurance coverage would routinely charge between $25,000 and $35,000 per month, not including covered therapies, which would be billed separately.
In contrast, the average skilled nursing facility charges between $9,000 and $12,000 per month in total.
During the reform effort, policymakers have been faced with the question of how to manage these costs, as they are ultimately passed directly to every Michigan driver through the MCCA’s annual assessment.
In the decade before reform, the annual MCCA assessment rose from $125 to $220 per vehicle as these long-term care costs skyrocketed.
Lawmakers faced a particular challenge: Since Medicare does not cover non-medical or non-rehabilitative care, there was no fee schedule to fall back on.
Without this – but with plenty of information on payment gaps like the one cited above – the law set future payments at 55% of what would have been paid before the reform (and up to 78% for providers serving most vulnerable communities).
Data shows that the combined reforms actually bent the MCCA’s cost curve: the annual MCCA levy on drivers’ auto insurance bills, otherwise on an inexorable upward trend, was reduced by $220 at $86 per car.
Michigan drivers are also in the process of receiving an unprecedented $400 rebate check per vehicle. Of course, the MCCA savings are in addition to the premium reductions discussed in part one above.
More importantly, the data shows that most people who complain about the lack of proper attendant care after the reform have their complaints resolved.
DIFS has created a rapid response hotline to ensure that the 6,600 people in long-term care continue to receive quality care.
As of March 18, DIFS has received a total of 106 formal complaints, of which 95 have been resolved. While media reports and lobbying campaigns may give one impression, the actual channel for raising and resolving care concerns tells a very different story.
I don’t believe anyone is claiming that the reform law is perfect.
But in our view, based on the data presented here, the law is fundamentally sound and delivering on its promise to empower consumers, reduce costs, and eliminate abuse.
Lawmakers who resisted changes that would set us back are right to do so.