These 2 paragraphs are mine >>
In one of the last actions before he left office.. former President Clinton approved wording which as of May 8th (a week ago) now allow health insurance companies to deny YOU coverage if you are injured while riding a motorcycle (and presumably a moped)
Congress had specifically intended the wording for this law to KEEP insurance co's from denying coverage... insurance co lawyers got the wording changed at the last minute... and the plan backfired... with the new wording specifically allowing health insurance co's to deny YOU coverage if you are hurt while riding.
The Story >>
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2001 2:54 PM
Subject: Health Insurance Discrimination In Effect RECREATIONISTS AND OTHERS MAY LOSE HEALTH BENEFITS
Lansing, Michigan -- New federal regulations that legalize health-care discrimination against snowmobilers, motorcyclists, horse riders and others involved in recreational activities have taken effect despite concerted efforts by snowmobilers, skiers, motorcyclists, equestrians and others to change the rules, the American Council of Snowmobile Association (ACSA) reports.
The new regulations, which became the law of the land on May 8, are the end result of a rulemaking process that dragged on for nearly five years after Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
The new rules state that an employer cannot refuse health-care coverage to an employee based on participation in legal recreational activities after working hours, but that health-care benefits can be denied for injuries suffered while taking part in those activities.
The rules, issued jointly by the Internal Revenue Service, the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, and the Health Care Finance Administration, directly contradict the intent of Congress in passing this law.
In fact, language in the Congressional Record at the time noted that the law "is intended to ensure, among other things, that individuals are not excluded from health-care coverage due to their participation in activities such as motorcycling, snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicle riding, horseback riding, skiing and other similar activities."
Many recreation groups worked hard to get that language included in the Congressional Record after uncovering incidents in which employers were discriminating against recreationists, leaving them without coverage when they were involved in recreational activities.
The new regulations went into effect despite the efforts of many organizations and individuals who took the time to comment on the proposed rules, and to contact members of Congress asking that they urge the new Bush administration to change the discriminatory parts of the regulations.
"These rules make the entire law meaningless," Christine Jourdain, ACSA Executive Director. "They open the door to the elimination of health coverage for all types of legal recreational activities, from snowmobiling to riding a bike to running or walking."
Recreation based organizations are planning to join forces to go back to Congress in hopes of getting a new bill passed reinstating the original intent of the health-insurance bill.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson's staff indicated that he didn't feel he had the authority to change the language of the rules, and that he was reluctant to do anything that might interfere with states' rights to determine the benefit coverage in their states.
The rules, only now taking effect, were issued on Jan. 5 in the final days of President Clinton's administration.
In the meantime, Jourdain is urging snowmobilers and all recreationists to check their health-insurance policies to see whether they would receive health-care benefits if they are hurt while participating in legal recreational activities.