The Latest: Michigan panel OKs plan to cut car premiums

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on the Michigan Legislature’s consideration of auto insurance bills (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

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.

The bills won passage from a Republican-controlled Senate panel on Tuesday. The full Senate plans to OK it later in the day.

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, while Republicans say insurers with lower costs would have to cut rates to appease regulators and stay competitive.

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5:25 a.m.

Lawmakers are taking aim at high car insurance premiums by unveiling a plan that would no longer make Michigan the only state to require drivers to buy unlimited medical benefits through their auto insurer.

The bills are expected to win approval from the Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday.

The measures would let drivers purchase no personal injury protection coverage if they have other qualifying health insurance. The legislation also would curb medical providers’ ability to bill car insurers much more for care than health insurers pay.

Efforts to change the no-fault auto insurance system have failed in the past. But Republican Sen. Aric Nesbitt says Michigan’s highest-in-the-country premiums must be reined in because people can’t afford to drive or are being forced to drive illegally without insurance.

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