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DC Insider: Affordable Care Act and Motorcycling


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Lately, the news cycle in Washington, D.C. – and around the country – has been dominated by the developments surrounding the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Over the past several years, the American Motorcyclist Association has been actively involved in ending healthcare discrimination that occurs when insurers would not cover otherwise insured injuries simply because the participant was motorcycling when the injury occurred. In fact, some companies had formalized this into their employer-sponsored health plans in order to lower costs.

The AMA vociferously opposed this because, as anyone can see, the policy is inherently discriminatory against a legal mode of transportation and a very popular lifestyle.

In fact, in 2003 Colorado included a provision in state law (10-3-11-4 (f) (XII)) declaring these practices as “unfair methods of competition and unfair deceptive acts” to sell insurance that denied “health care coverage … to any individual based solely on that individual's casual or nonprofessional participation in the following activities: Motorcycling; snowmobiling; off-highway vehicle riding; skiing; or snowboarding.”

As you may know, minimum insurance plan requirements are increasing under the ACA. Under the new requirements insurers will be unable to market policies that do not meet the stricter standards.  As a result, many insurance plans will be required to provide an increased level of services and options to meet the requirements.

While the regulations and rules surrounding the ACA are still being written, interpreted and implemented, the AMA is hopeful that under this law all insurance plans will be required to cover all injuries sustained while using a motorcycle or all-terrain-vehicle for recreation, competition or as a legal mode of transportation.

In order to ensure this is the case, the AMA recently wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius asking if motorcycle discrimination would continue to be allowed under the ACA. As we wait for the response, the AMA’s Government Relations Department is still discussing this important issue with lawmakers at the state and federal level to ensure that all motorcycle related crashes are covered under insurance plans.

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Comments  2

  • Cj Long 18 Nov

    You are way to hopeful, there are already provisions with in the ACA that if nothing else will kill any of the participation in the sports such as "motorcycle or all-terrain-vehicle for recreation, competition or as a legal mode of transportation.".  Believe me the ACA does not consider such activities as "normal activities" - if anything they consider them as "endangering" which opens up the can of worms of anyone allowing another person to purposefully participate in an activity could be subject to child abuse.  The ACA hopefully does not disallow insurance riders to be purchased but if anyone thinks that the government is going to support the AMA or any other organization just hasn't paid attention to how intrusive the government has become.  The ACA was formulated upon lies written by insurance companies and bureaucrats - deep within the law you will be required to report the ownership of guns - with that requirement it gives local, state and federal cause to enter your home to ensure that the guns are stowed properly, especially if you are under medication for anti-depression or the medication you are under provides side-effects making the operation of vehicles/equipment dangerous.  You can paint cow manure any color you want and even put banners of rainbows over it but the fact is it still remains cow manure.
  • John Painter 02 Mar

    I'm a behavioral health professional and also a CAC in my agency and I ride.  I think it's good that the AMA is following up directly with the Department of HHS on this matter, however it is quite clear in the law that medical treatment for accidents including motorcycles must be covered.  I've read HR 3590 through and for the most part it's boring for the record there are no death panels, the IRS can not take your house if you don't buy health insurance, and all the other foolish drivel splashed over the internet or fear mongering talk shows.

    One of the core things the ACA does is create national standards for minimum coverage, I always thought it was bizarre that some insurance plans considered pregnancy a "pre-existing" condition or that a broken leg from an auto accident was somehow more legitimate than a broken leg from a motorcycle accident.  That said the ACA is a living document and it's possible (though I think unlikely) that if enough medical insurance providers lobbied hard on a particular issue like this Congress could amend the Act.  So I think it's good that the AMA is following through with this question and making it clear a large number of Americans would not tolerate loss of coverage again.
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