Legalized Insurance Discrimination Against Motorcyclists?

Article from Enthusiast Winter 2001 issue.

Motorcyclist and others involved in recreational activities could be left out without vital health-care coverage as a result of new regulations released by a group of federal agencies in mid-January, reports the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).

Ironically, the rules, written in response to federal legislation banning health insurance discrimination, could end up having precisely the the opposite effect.  The new regulations first state that an employer cannot refuse health-care coverage to an employee on the basis of participation in recreational activities.  But they go on to say that health-care benefits can be denied for injuries sustained in connection with those recreational activities.

"To say that and employer can't deny health-care coverage to motorcyclists, but can deny coverage of any injury related to motorcycling, makes this entire law meaningless," said Ed Moreland, the AMA's vice president of government relations.  "Instead of creating a law specifically ending health-care discrimination, as Congress intended, these agencies lave legalized discrimination."

The AMA is urging all motorcyclists and those involved in any other type of recreational activity to protest these regulations during a public comment period that remains open through April 9.  Comments can be sent to the following three agencies (Comments sent by regular mail should include a signed original and three copies.  E-mail comments do not require multiple copies.): Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044 or e-mail www.irs.gov/tax_regs/regslist.html ; U.S. Department of Labor Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Room C-5331, Washington, DC 20210 Attn: Non-discrimination comments or e-mail HIPAA702@pwba.dol.gov ; Health Care Financing Administration Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: HCFA-2022-IFC, P.O. Box 26688, Baltimore, MD 21207.

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