Bronson Hospital denied right to recover for medical care provided to no fault victim: Allstate avoids payment on a technicality
Bronson Methodist Hospital provided $37,000.00 of care to an uninsured accident victim (probably one day's hospitalization, one x-ray, hang-nail surgery and three aspirin.....at going rates). By law, it was entitled to recover these expenses from an "assigned insurer" licensed to sell auto insurance in Michigan. MI insurers are randomly assigned to provide PIP benefits to uninsured passengers and pedestrians if they don't have coverage through a vehicle or a member of the household. In this case, however, Bronson did not identify the victim as uninsured immediately, and did not apply for an "assigned' insurer for nearly 12 months. By the time Allstate was assigned to the claim, the services were one year and two days old, and Allstate refused to pay for them, citing the "one year back rule."
Bronson filed suit immediately, and argued that the language of the statute governing assigned claims, gave it a brief window of extension in which to file suit. The Court acknowledged that the statute was specifically written to allow a medical provider an extension of the statute of limitations in which to file suit, however, it still applied the "one year back" rule to deny Bronson any recovery. Noting that under MCL 500.3145(1) and MCL 500.3174, Bronson had 30 days after receiving notice of Allstate's assignment in which to file suit, the Court still held that allowing Bronson to collect benefits that were more than one year old "would require impermissible judicial interpretation." Odd, that's just what we thought we paid Judges to do.