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Companies cut off auto no-fault patients from care due to new law

Posted at 6:44 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 18:44:28-04

NEW BOSTON, Mich. (WXYZ) — This week Republican State Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth announced he is done considering repealing the 45% cut in insurance coverage for catastrophic crash survivors.

Numerous patients tell 7 Action News they then got notice their attendant care providers are cutting them off.

Elizabeth Mack of New Boston showed WXYZ the letter she received from First Call Home Healthcare. The company wrote that it sent notice to 42 auto no-fault insurance patients, notifying them the company has lost more than $1 million caring for them. The losses came after lawmakers cut reimbursement almost in half, by 45% in July 2021. First Call Home Healthcare says it is discharging auto no-fault patients effective April 30.

This is only the latest notice Mack has received.

Alastor Home Care, LLC discharged her in February due to the law change. She then was able to sign up with First Call for care, only for it to reach the same conclusion this week. It is not a sustainable business decision to serve auto no-fault patients as the reimbursement does not cover costs.

“I lost therapy. I am losing my caregivers. I am losing my freedom,” said Elizabeth Mack.

Mack says after the law went into effect she also lost the physical therapy that helped her maintain physical health and she lost access to massage therapy.

“My daughter is paralyzed from the neck down. She doesn’t use her arms, hands, legs,” said Karon Mack, Elizabeth’s mom.

“It is a whole lot of emotion. I worry about her,” said Michael Mack, Elizabeth’s dad.

“Who is going to take care of me? Where am I going to go? It’s scary,” said Elizabeth.

So what does she have to say to the company discharging her?

“Thank you,” Elizabeth told Bob Mlynarek, Co-Owner of First Call Home Healthcare.

Mlynarek says he has spent a lot of time in Lansing, lobbying for a change in the law that would allow him to charge a fair fee. He says the 45% cut leaves him unable to pay the wages of caregivers.

He says he made the decision this week because Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth, who controls what is voted on in the House, said he had no intention of changing the law.

"I've spent an entire year looking at every idea that was proposed and working with our committee on options. They all either move us back toward the old status quo or put the savings and refund checks for Michigan drivers at risk. At this point, it's time to move on,” said Wentworth.

“We have the votes. Speaker Wentworth and Senator Shirkey will not allow a vote to the floor,” said Mlynarek.

“It is a lot to take in. For two guys to hold this up. It is rough,” said Michael Mack.

WXYZ asked the Insurance Alliance of Michigan, which lobbied for the 45% cut, what it wanted people concerned about families like the Macks to know about the reform.

“Between now and May 9th, seven-point-two million Michigan drivers are going to receive a $400 per vehicle refund check, which is just part of the savings coming in response to the reform,” said Erin McDonough, Executive Director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan.

You can reach out to your legislator here.