Michigan Senate passes plan to cut car premiums

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) (5/7/19) - Lawmakers are taking aim at high car insurance premiums by giving initial approval to a plan that would no longer make Michigan the only state to require drivers to buy unlimited medical benefits through their auto insurer.

UPDATE: Whitmer threatens veto of auto insurance reform bill passed Tuesday

The bills won passage from the Republican-controlled Senate on a largely party-line vote Tuesday. They move to the GOP-led House for consideration next and face an uncertain future.

The measures would let drivers purchase no personal injury protection coverage if they have other qualifying health insurance, or choose up to $250,000 in benefits unless insurers offer higher amounts.

The legislation also would curb medical providers' ability to bill car insurers much more for care than health insurers pay.

Democrats criticize the legislation for not mandating rate reductions or prohibiting the use of discriminatory non-driving factors in setting rates.

Republicans say a unique fee assessed on Michigan drivers would be slashed and insurers with lower costs would have to cut personal injury protection rates to appease regulators and stay competitive.

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