On Monday, the Michigan Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Elizabeth M. Welch and joined by Chief Justice Clement and Justices Berstein, Cavanagh, and Bolden, issued its decision in Andary v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, a case that has been working its way through the state court system since 2019.
The Court ruled that unlimited, lifetime medical services for the nearly 15,000 Michiganders who were catastrophically injured in accidents prior to the 2019 passage of the auto no-fault reform law must be fully paid and not subject to cost controls.
The decision also exempts pre-2019 crash survivors from the law's new 56-hour cap on in-home attendant care that is provided by a patient's family or friends. (Attendant care for over 56 hours is still available under the law to all severely injured survivors, but must come from a care agency or other third party unless an exemption is granted.)
In response to the ruling, Rep. Julie Rogers (D-41-Kalamazoo), an ally to the home care industry, issued the following statement: “Today’s ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court finding — that changes made by no-fault auto insurance legislation do not apply to those catastrophically injured before 2019 — is a welcome relief to crash survivors and their families. Patients should have never been subjected to a loss of health care and necessary services to treat these terrible injuries when they had a pre-existing contract with their insurance companies for this coverage before the 2019 change in the law. It is an absolute tragedy that people have suffered, some have even died, because of this misinterpretation of the law and our state constitution. I am grateful the Supreme Court is righting this wrong, and I stand ready to work with my colleagues to address the deficiencies in the 2019 law which are not addressed by this ruling. Those injured after 2019 are still struggling with arbitrary caps and cuts in their care.”
The court’s full 101-page opinion can be found here and a podcast discussing the decision can be found here.
HCAOA will continue to monitor the fallout from the decision and keep you updated.