Ontarians Against FSCO Recommendations for Auto Insurance
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario's (FSCO)"Report on the Five Year Review of Automobile Insurance", dated 31 March 2009, has been presented to the Minister of Finance. The Report contains recommendations to "improve the effectiveness and administration" of, among other things, Statutory Accident Benefits (SABS). The SABS are regulations under the Insurance Act, "purchased" with auto insurance policies, governing benefits for income replacement, medical and rehabilitation services, and attendant care. The FSCO recommendations will negatively impact access to rehabilitation for Ontarians injured in auto accidents. For example, FSCO recommends reducing the cap for medical and rehabilitation benefits for non-catastrophic claims from $100,000 to $25,000. The majority of injuries and impairments are deemed non-CAT, as the bar for reaching the CAT threshold is high and it often takes years before an individual is deemed CAT. For those requiring multidisciplinary rehab, the $25,000 limit will be exhausted within months. FSCO and the government believe that those requiring further rehab can be served under the OHIP. Many rehab services (e.g., physiotherapy), however, have been de-listed and others never covered (e.g., psychology). Without adequate rehab, many injured Ontarians will never return to independent living or gainful employment. They will be forced to access social programs, such as Ontario Works and ODSP to survive. If families cannot afford to purchase private rehab services, attendant care, or supervision, injured Ontarians may be forced into assisted-living centres or nursing homes. FSCO recommends physicians assume responsibility for assessment, referral to rehab services, monitoring of rehab progress, and the completion of insurance forms. Many Ontarians are without a family physician, and many physicians are disinclined to participate in the insurance process due to time constraints. This may result in a delay in access to treatment, which is linked to poorer outcomes. Currently, insurers can object to proposed treatment by conducting an Insurer Examination (IE). If the IE finds that proposed treatment is not reasonable or necessary, a healthcare provider can submit a Rebuttal Report. FSCO recommends revoking the right for Ontarians to rebut insurer decisions with respect to treatment funding. FSCO recommends caps on the costs of assessments, which will make it impossible for healthcare providers to meet the Standards of Practice set out by the regulatory Colleges. As a result, many clinicians will be unable to provide services to Ontarians injured in auto accidents. A shortage of healthcare providers will further delay access to treatment. We, the undersigned, ask the Minister of Finance to reject the FSCO recommendations.