MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (FOX 2) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill to cut the country's highest auto premiums Thursday morning during the Mackinac Policy Conference, following a landmark deal that was reached with legislative leaders and approved by large margins in the House and Senate.
Michigan - home to the country's highest car premiums - is the only state to require unlimited personal injury protection, or PIP, benefits, which on average make up half of auto premiums. They cover medical treatment, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages for three years and up to $20 daily for assistance with things like cooking, cleaning and other services people can no longer carry out due to their injuries.
Under the measure, starting in mid-2020 people will be able to forego PIP entirely if they have health insurance such as an employer plan or Medicare. Other options will include sticking with unlimited coverage or choosing either $250,000 or $500,000 worth. Those on Medicaid will have to carry at least $50,000 in PIP.
Piggybacking on the success of bill, the governor is setting her sights back on the roads, and her propsoed $.45 gas tax increase. She wants to have an agreement by the end of June.
"Well you can't find any consensus without a relationship and any relationship needs trust," said House Speaker Lee Chatfield. "What we just built here with tackling car insurance is trust that we can build on into the future."
However, some Republican lawmakers may be more interested in a balanced budget in that near-future. Whitmer asked for that by the end of July.
Until then, the sun was out and the paper was wet with ink. A signature that both sides will tout as reform brought from bipartisanship.
Under the new law, insurers will be prohibited from using several non-driving factors in setting rates, and health provider reimbursements will be scaled back.
The measure won overwhelmingly bipartisan support from the Republican-led Legislature on Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report