In a July 21, 2020 article, “Medical professionals oppose insurance company proposals for insurance reform”, FAIR Alberta discusses insurance industry claims that reforms would lead to “more care” and “better outcomes” for parties injured in automobile accidents. According to Dr. Ashley Smith, a clinical specialist in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, there is good reason to question these claims. 

Like most businesses, insurance companies are neither benevolent, nor altruistic. Their objective is to save money; and funding expensive treatments hardly seems to be an effective business model. While it is too early to speculate about the parameters of a no-fault system in Alberta, common sense suggests that insurance companies are not eager to spend extra money improving the treatment experience of their clients. The pursuit of “more” care could lead to compromising the quality of care available, in order to cut costs.    

Dr. Smith shares this concern. He points out that what “is”, in fact, most important, is not “more care.” It is getting the right care from the right person, at the right time. Dr. Smith is skeptical of a system in which injured drivers are forced into standardized treatment regimens, regardless of their particular needs and circumstances. Chronic pain, in particular, is a complex problem with both physical and psychological components. At Pipella Law, a number of our clients find multidisciplinary chronic pain programs beneficial. Some find counselling helpful. Some require chiropractic treatment. Others prefer physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, injections, or medication. Some need a combination of different modalities. Can insurance companies really afford to tailor individualized treatment plans for their clients? To ensure “better outcomes”, one would think individualized treatment plans would be necessary.

On that note, Dr. Smith suggested that the only way to truly “increase” the care available for consumers is for insurance companies to increase premiums. After all, chronic pain conditions often plateau, and a variety of treatments are required just to help people maintain their functioning. There is a possibility, then, that insurance reforms would not only restrict the compensation available for injuries, but they would ultimately increase costs to the consumer. In other words, one can envision a scenario where consumers lose, not only the right to sue, but also lose the right to direct their own treatment approach, and potentially pay higher premiums! While this may sound appetizing to insurance companies, it is hardly a “better” outcome for insured and injured victims. 

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, or due to someone’s negligence, give the lawyers at Pipella Law a call at (403) 265-8733.