Michigan Drivers Reminded to Take Quick Action after Health Insurance Changes That Could Leave Them Without Medical Coverage in the Event of an Auto Accident
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 8, 2021
(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding drivers who excluded or opted out of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage for themselves or a family member that changes to or loss of health insurance coverage in their household can also affect their auto insurance coverage. Drivers may need to take action within 30 days after such an event to ensure that no one in their household is left without medical coverage in the event of an auto accident.
“Auto insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when your health insurance changes, but people who choose to rely on their health insurance coverage for auto accident injuries must take quick action if they lose or change their health insurance,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “There may be serious financial consequences if someone in your household has opted out of or been excluded from PIP medical coverage, loses their qualified health insurance, and is then involved in an auto accident.”
Under Michigan’s new auto insurance law, drivers can select the level of PIP medical coverage that they want to have for themselves and their families, which covers their medical and other expenses if they are injured in an auto accident.
Drivers can opt out or exclude themselves from PIP medical coverage, as long as they have qualified health coverage, which means either: Medicare Parts A and B or Medicare Advantage; a health insurance policy that doesn’t limit or exclude auto accident injuries and has a deductible of $6,000 or less per individual; or another Michigan auto policy, depending on their selection. Other family members in the household can also opt out or exclude PIP medical on the auto policy if they have qualified health coverage or another auto insurance policy.
Under the new law, if a person who has opted out of or is excluded from PIP medical coverage loses qualified health coverage, and does not do one of the following in 30 days they may find themselves with no medical coverage if they are injured in an auto accident:
- Get replacement qualified health coverage and provide proof of coverage to the auto insurer, or
- Add PIP medical coverage to their auto insurance policy.
If they do not take action within 30 days, they will not be entitled to any PIP medical benefits, potentially making them personally responsible for their own medical bills in the event of an auto accident. During the 30 day period only, if the consumer is injured in a car accident before they have obtained alternate coverage, they may receive up to $2 million in coverage from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
“It is critical that Michigan drivers or family members in their household who have opted out of or excluded PIP medical coverage who lose qualified health coverage get alternate coverage for auto accident injuries before this 30-day period runs out, whether by obtaining new health coverage or getting PIP medical coverage under an auto insurance policy,” said Fox. “If anyone in your family who opted out or excluded PIP medical coverage recently lost their qualified health coverage and does not know how to buy replacement health coverage, DIFS is here to help answer your questions so you and your family can get the coverage you need.”
Anyone who needs health coverage may purchase a plan and take advantage of subsidies to lower their costs during the current special enrollment period on the Health Insurance Marketplace, which runs from Feb. 15 through May 15. Coverage begins on the first day of the month after you enroll. To review coverage options and enroll, consumers can visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).
Consumers with questions about auto insurance can contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 833-ASK-DIFS (833-275-3437) or visit Michigan.gov/AutoInsurance.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.