First Senate bill of new term to lower auto insurance rates

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation seeking to reduce Michigan’s highest-in-the-nation auto insurance rates was introduced in the state Senate on Tuesday.

“Michiganders have made it crystal clear — they want this problem solved,” said Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton. “Michigan is the most expensive state in the country to purchase auto insurance, and people are understandably upset. We have an obligation to solve this problem.”

Senate Bill 1 would provide relief for consumers by addressing the root causes of Michigan’s excessive car insurance rates. The bill would allow drivers over the age of 62 the option of allowing Medicare or their other lifetime healthcare benefits to cover medical costs. It would also give younger drivers the ability to choose an amount of coverage that suits their needs and budget. Savings would correspond to the chosen benefit level.

The bill also aims for greater transparency and equity in health provider billing practices. Auto insurers pay significantly more to hospitals and other health care providers than do other insurers for the same treatments and services, which are ultimately passed on to Michigan drivers.

“This is something the Legislature has been looking at for some time. I look forward to continuing this conversation and working with my colleagues to finally get these reforms approved,” Nesbitt said. “Michigan consumers simply deserve better, and I think this legislation is a great start to the conversation.”

Sen. Lana Theis, who serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Insurance and Banking, agreed.

“Michigan has improved significantly over the past eight years, but the high cost of automobile insurance remains Michigan’s number one problem yet to be resolved,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “Insurance rates have become unbearable for too many Michigan residents. The state that put the world on wheels can no longer allow its residents to be priced out of driving.

“Senate Bill 1 proposes to reduce car insurance rates, ensure accident victims have the medical care they need, and crack down on insurance fraud.”

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Insurance and Banking for further consideration.

###