Insurance companies hasten collapse of Michigan care industry for people hurt in car accidents by not paying

By Tracy Samilton: For Complete Post, click here…

ngd-This was always the point of the “improvements” in Michigan auto insurance. Once the disabled people are dead, the insurance companies will go after the trust fund…

Michigan’s nationally renowned system of care for people hurt in car accidents is breaking down. Former and newly injured people are being denied care in the chaos unleashed by the state’s new auto insurance law.

Care providers across the state say insurance companies are going far beyond what the law explicitly says they can do, and routinely delaying or denying payment for all kinds of post-accident care.

The situation is gravely jeopardizing the care, health and even lives of people like Dan Hawkins, who survived a catastrophic car crash in 1996. He’s paralyzed from the upper chest down.

“I can just sit in bed, but I need another human being to roll me, dress me, transfer me to a Hoyer lift, help me with food, drinking….” said Hawkins.

After the accident, Hawkins’ insurance company, Farmers Insurance, paid for 24/7 home care. But the new auto insurance law lets insurers like Farmers cut payments for home care below the cost of providing the care, as of July 1.

John Beattie said in reality, it’s even worse than that. He’s director of Inspire Home Care, the company that provides Hawkins’ home care aides.

In Hawkins’ case, “we have not been paid one cent for services since July 1.”

Beattie said the fee cuts in the new law will force him to stop providing care for all 38 of his company’s severely injured auto accident survivors. But insurance companies are speeding that day up by paying nothing at all.

The message Hawkins says this send to him, and other people needing care? “You don’t matter anymore.”

Across Michigan, at least 700 injured people have already lost care, according to the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council.

Like the ventilator-dependent patient who had to be dropped off at a local hospital because his home care agency closed, and he had nowhere else to go.

A severely injured single mom whose children are trying to care for her when she lost her aides.

A severely injured three-year-old boy whose extended family now has to sign up for shifts to care for him.

Denise Sokolowski is Vice President of All About You Home Care. She said many insurance companies are going beyond what the new law explicitly allows, and slashing payments below cost for everything.

“Feeding tube supplies. That’s their food that goes down their feeding tube. Gloves. Needles. Medications that are necessary,” said Sokolowski.

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