AMA Battles Insurance Discrimination

From a press release issued by the AMA:

AMA Acts To End Health-Care Bias Against Riders

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Following intense efforts by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), legislation has been introduced in Congress to end health-care discrimination against motorcyclists.

In the '90s, Congress passed a law meant to bar employers from refusing to cover motorcycle-related injuries in the health-care coverage they offer employees. But federal bureaucrats reversed that law, writing rules to allow health-insurance discrimination against motorcyclists and others who engage in legal activities like skiing, snowmobiling, ATV riding or horseback riding. This new legislation would correct that action.

The bill, introduced by U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on February 14, would "promote health-care coverage parity for individuals participating in legal recreational activities or legal transportation activities."

Specifically, the bill states that "a plan or issuer may not deny benefits otherwise provided for the treatment of any injury solely because such injury resulted from participation of the participant or beneficiary in an activity such as motorcycling, snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicle riding, horseback riding, skiing or other similar legal activity."

Those words came out of meetings between aides for the senators and the AMA's team in Washington, D.C., that also included officials of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. The bill also has the endorsement of the All-Terrain Vehicle Association, the American Horse Council and the American Snowmobilers Association, among others.

Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, said the threat of losing health-care benefits is enormous.

"Medical bills from an accident can easily total tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars," he said. "Without insurance, that can amount to a devastating blow to any rider."

Riders and others who want to end this type of insurance discrimination are urged to send letters to their federal lawmakers asking them to support the Feingold-Collins bill. An easy way to send your message is to use the AMA Rapid Response Center at

"We succeeded in this effort years ago, only to see our efforts reversed by federal agencies," Moreland said. "Now, we have a second chance to protect all motorcyclists from health-insurance discrimination. We need to take advantage of this opportunity."

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George Obradovich
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