By now we’ve all heard of the unfortunate motorcycle accident of an Ontario man, which occurred on June 1, 2016. We know about his plight with increasing medical and rehabilitation costs. We’re all saddened by his ordeal, both from the accident itself and from his experience with the changes to Accident Benefits (injury benefits) for car insurance in Ontario.
Related Read: Important Changes to Ontario Auto Insurance Are Coming
Under the Government of Ontario’s mandate to reduce car insurance costs in Ontario benefit limits were reduced and a change was made regarding how brain trauma in vehicle accidents is accessed. Under the old Accident Benefit rules (pre-June 1, 2016) the Glasgow Coma Scale was used to determine brain injury.
Now the Glasgow Outcome Scale, or Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale, is used (see the new regulation here – section 4ii). While the exact differences between the two are beyond our expertise, it is this change that resulted in the man’s injuries being classified as severe and NOT catastrophic. That, in turn, determined how much money he could expect to receive for Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care from his car insurance provider. In his case, it meant a substantial drop of coverage limits.
What Steps Can You Take to Protect Your Family?
This accident, like many of its kind, create lasting trauma, not only for the victim, but, as we’ve learned from the CBC article, for the victim’s family as well. As insurance experts it is our job to inform our clients about changes to auto insurance and advise what options are available to protect them and their family.
While we can't change the definition of catastrophic injury there are options available through your car insurance policy that would help pay for Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care costs for severe injuries that result from a car accident.
There are many benefits for those injured in car accidents; income replacement, home maintenance, death and funeral, and indexation. For this blog post we’re going to focus on the Medical, Rehabilitation, and Attendant Care (MRA) coverage.
The new standard accident benefits for MRA for auto policies that have renewed after June 1, 2016 is to provide up to $65,000 for severe injuries. That is a drop of $21,000 in coverage from the stand benefits for pre-June 1, 2016 policies. For any injury deemed minor there is still a hard limit of $3,500. However, for severe and catastrophic injury coverage you have options for MRA. They are:
- Purchase up to $130,000 for non-catastrophic (injuries identified as severe)
- Purchase up to $1,000,000 for all injuries ($1,000,000 limit for all severe injuries and increases the catastrophic limit from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000)
- Purchase another $1,000,000 for catastrophic injuries only (when purchased with the $1,000,000 all injury option catastrophic injury coverage increases to $3,000,000)
As the CBC article outlines car accidents can cause severe and lasting injuries and it’s vital to begin rehabilitation as quickly as possible. But rehabilitation costs can be expensive. It’s important to contact your broker and discuss what options are available for you and your family.
What About Workplace Group Health Plans?
You may have access to group health insurance benefits through your employer. However, those plans may have longer waiting periods or shorter time limitations or lower limits than what you could get through your auto insurance policy. Contacting your plan administrator and asking him or her to explain what you'd be eligible for if you had a serious injury is a good idea. You may find your plan doesn't offer as much support as you hope. Or, perhaps your plan does provide you with enough coverage for medical emergencies. Educating yourself is important.
Does OHIP Cover Medical Expenses for Car Accident Victims?
OHIP does not provide funds for Medical, Rehabilitation, and Attendant Care costs for injuries that result from a car accident. Items such as special beds, special vehicles, installing wheel chair access to homes, even crutches, to name a few, are not covered under OHIP.
As the Hamilton family discovered the costs quickly used up the standard MRA benefit limits. That’s why we strongly recommend purchasing increased limits such as the $1,000,000 all injuries option and the $1,000,000 catastrophic injury option to provide for your needs should you be seriously injured in a car accident.
Have any comments or questions? Please write them below.
Would you like a second opinion on your car insurance needs? Please visit here.
Thank you for reading.