Bill to Close Loophole Related to Motorcyclist Health Insurance Passes U.S. Senate
The American Motorcyclist Association and All-Terrain Vehicle Association report that a bipartisan bill to end health-care discrimination against motorcyclists and ATVers has cleared the U.S. Senate.The measure, S. 423, now goes to the House for consideration. AMA Government Relations Department officials hope the House will give final approval to the measure, and urge all motorcyclists, ATVers and others to contact their U.S. representatives to support the bill.The measure would bar health plans from denying benefits to people injured while riding motorcycles, ATVs, horses, snowmobiles, skiing, or engaging in other legal recreational or transportation activities.Acting in the wee hours of the morning on November 21, the Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent.”Americans who enjoy recreational or transportation activities such as riding motorcycles should have the right to the same health insurance protection whether they are injured on their bike or in their home,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who co-authored the bill. “I thank the American Motorcyclist Association for their support as I drafted this legislation, which more clearly defines health insurance regulations to ensure that people participating in legal recreational and transportation activities are covered under an equal standard of protection.”U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who co-authored the bill, agreed.”If Americans want to enjoy legal transportation and recreational activities, the thought of being refused medical coverage shouldn’t stop them,” Feingold said. “That’s why I have been fighting alongside U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to pass this bill giving people the protection they deserve while taking part in activities like motorcycling, which so many people in my home state of Wisconsin enjoy.”Edward Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, and AMA Washington Representative Patrick Holtz, were elated that the Senate passed the bill, but noted more work needs to be done.We can’t let up, they said. We need to get this passed in the House.In the House, U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) plans to work for passage of the bill.”I am pleased that the Senate has taken action to end the discrimination in health care coverage against those participating in recreational and transportation activities,” Strickland said. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in the House to pass (the bill) to close up the unfair HIPAA loophole that allows this discrimination.”In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which prohibits companies from denying access to employer-sponsored health insurance for motorcyclists and those who participate in other recreational activities. However, federal regulators created a loophole that allows the denial of benefits under various conditions.The AMA, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, Motorcycle Industry Council and various state motorcyclists’ rights organizations are working to get this loophole-closing legislation approved.You can find out who your U.S. representative is and contact him or her to support the passage of S. 423 by going to the AMA website at www.AMADirectlink.com
and clicking on the AMA Rapid Response Center button on the left. There, you will find a message that you can send immediately.