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Old 05-09-01, 12:25 PM   #1
Joe Pozer
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I believe someone had posted a thread in here earlier concerning the health insurance accountability act. This is IMBA's resonponse...This was posted in Dirtworl.com and can also be seen on IMBA'S own website, IMBA.com. I think that statement number 3 is a very important point.


IMBA Fires Back!
Tim Blumenthal - IMBA Executive Director

April 6, 2001

Re: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act


The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a non-profit, 501(c)3, membership organization representing the interests of mountain bicyclists nationwide. Please accept the following as the IMBA official comments regarding proposed regulations implementing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).


We commend the original intention of the HIPAA to prohibit health insurers from denying health coverage based on a worker's preexisting medical condition or participation in certain types of legal recreational activities, specifically motorcycling, horseback riding, ATV-use, snowmobiling, skiing and other similar activities.


We do not, however, support the modification to this act which makes it legal for insurance agencies to deny coverage to individuals injured while participating in motorcycling, horseback riding, ATV-use, snowmobiling, skiing and other similar activities.


IMBA has three complaints about this modification:


1. The modification obviates the original intent of HIPAA. Why would the act make it illegal to discriminate against individuals based on the activities they participate in, but then state that participants can be discriminated against if they get hurt in that said activity? Clearly this is a contradiction.


2. Bicycling and mountain biking are not included among the five activities listed, but could conceivably be grouped in the vague wording "and other similar activities." What criteria were used to select motorcycling, horseback riding, ATV-use, snowmobiling and skiing as the five named high-risk activities? Were they selected based on factual injury statistics and health care costs, or were they selected arbitrarily using preconceived personal perceptions? The vague phrase, "and other similar activities", would allow insurance providers to decide to add bicycling to the high-risk activities group regardless of actual risk statistics.


3. Should an insurance agency choose not to provide coverage to cyclists, IMBA is very concerned that people would reduce their riding, or give up the activity altogether for fear of not being able to afford medical coverage should they get hurt. This would be a travesty. Several Surgeon Generals, the Center for Disease Control and a number of state public health offices have specifically and actively encouraged citizens to ride bicycles both on and off roads. Indeed, if people spent as much time riding their bikes as they do watching television or driving their cars, heart disease, cancer, obesity and other health conditions that plague this nation and skyrocket medical costs would be drastically reduced. IMBA believes that the health benefits of cycling far outweigh the potential risks.


In conclusion, IMBA supports HIPAA's original intention to eliminate health insurance discrimination against individuals based on the activity they participate in. We ask, however, that the modification that denies coverage to individuals injured while participating in motorcycling, horseback riding, ATV-use, snowmobiling, skiing and other similar activities be removed completely.


Please contact us if we can provide you with further information.


Regards,



Tim Blumenthal - IMBA Executive Director


For additional information and news on the good work IMBA does on behalf of mountain bikers everywhere, visit www.IMBA.com.

Last edited by Joe Pozer; 05-09-01 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 05-09-01, 12:34 PM   #2
Steele-Bike
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Originally posted by Joe Pozer



We do not, however, support the modification to this act which makes it legal for insurance agencies to deny coverage to individuals injured while participating in motorcycling, horseback riding, ATV-use, snowmobiling, skiing and other similar activities.

Does this apply to commuters? Most people do consider biking as a recreational activity, but for a lot of us it is transportation. Say for instance I get injured on the way to work, would my insurance be voided? I guess I should contact my insurance company and ask a few questions.
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Old 05-09-01, 01:47 PM   #3
LittleBigMan
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You always have to keep an eye on big business. They like to make a profit and they hate to pay out. Medical insurers would love to cover only people who never get sick.
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Old 05-09-01, 03:11 PM   #4
Joe Pozer
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Originally posted by Pete Clark
You always have to keep an eye on big business. They like to make a profit and they hate to pay out. Medical insurers would love to cover only people who never get sick.
Exactly, so I believe insurers are shooting themselves in the foot if they refuse to cover people who are injured by riding. They are discouraging people from exercising. People who lead an unhealthy life are morel likely to get ill then someone who exercises regularly.
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Old 05-09-01, 04:19 PM   #5
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Pozer speaks much truth. The healthful effects of cycling have been proven to outweigh any dangers by as little as 10, and as much as 20 times.

I almost never have to see the doctor for routine sicknesses anymore. My doctor was impressed with my cycling habit. Especially when I told her about my weight loss, low heart rate and low blood pressure. She didn't seem the least bit worried about me.

My brother, 6 years my elder, has already had a "stint" put in one of the blood vessels leading to his heart. It was almost completely blocked. I hope he is watching me.

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Old 05-11-01, 08:25 AM   #6
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Steele-Bike

No point in calling your insurance carrier yet. The comment period on these proposed modifications just ended a few weeks back. No changes have been implemented to date. I know that many organizations within the recreation community rallied hard to educate the regulators on this issue. I fired off a couple of letters to reviewing boards and my goof-ball congressman.
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