Solving the Michigan Auto Insurance Puzzle

Solving the Michigan Auto Insurance Puzzle

The TV program “The Good Place” is about…. Well, actually, it’s one of those shows where the less you know at the start, the more enjoyable it is. So for those of you who haven’t started or are not quite caught up, I will say only that the term “good place” is a synonym for “heaven.”

And this brief anecdote: In a recent episode, several souls arrive in what they believe to be the good place, but in a very unorthodox, backdoor sort of way. It appears they have not been detected, and there is some concern that when found they might be kicked out (and sent to the bad place).

One of the characters protests the idea, saying, “We’re refugees. What kind of messed up place would turn away refugees?”

This, of course, is some biting social commentary on ongoing US immigration issues, not Michigan’s auto insurance rates. But it is what got me started on this week’s cartoon. It reminded me of a very similar question I’ve heard (and said) with equal exasperation: “What kind of messed up healthcare system lets people go bankrupt just because they got hurt?”

In Michigan, if you get hurt in an auto accident, your medical expenses can be covered. And if you are on Medicare, you also enjoy a great deal of financial protection. But that leaves a lot of holes and seems like an awfully random (and inefficient) way to insure people.

The state legislature is currently looking at ways to reduce auto insurance rates. One perennial target is the MCCA fee (currently $192 per year per driver), which funds the unlimited lifetime coverage for medical expenses resulting from auto accidents. There are certainly improvements to be made. (Greater transparency on how rates are determined would be a great start.) But as the legislators consider capping or eliminating the MCCA fee, I hope they are also considering the bigger picture, like fixing the messed up healthcare system.

1 Comment »

  1. john miller said,

    January 19, 2019 @ 7:36 pm

    I would agree except “just because they got hurt” is superfluous. Financial disaster from some sort of healing is obscene. But then so are our maternity statistics.
    I think you are wrong about Medicare in multiple ways: Many accident victims with disability are on Medicare even if younger than 65. Those victims don’t think Medicare coverage is all that
    great. You will have a hard time using Medicare to help reduce your premiums because Medicare does not “coordinate” with the Michigan program — that is if you go to an ER they will first ask if it is automobile related and if so will bill you at a higher rate (other insurances go along with this but the Federal folks take a dim view of this behavior.) I don’t think any of the deep pockets behind the campaign against the recent petition drive cared about personal bankruptcies but they sure did like having a nice stable, fat revenue stream like the MCCA.

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