Skip to content

Federal Agencies Propose Adverse Rules On Health Insurance Coverage For Riders



Posted April 5, 2001
Regulations proposed by the Internal Revenue Service, the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration and the Health Care Financing Administration could affect people who enjoy horseback riding (and other forms of recreation) by permitting health insurers to exclude coverage for injuries resulting from riding and other forms of "dangerous" recreation. While the new proposals state that an employer cannot refuse healthcare coverage to an employee based on participation in recreational activities, they permit health insurers to deny coverage for injuries sustained in connection with such recreational activities, effectively reaching the same result.

The new regulations were jointly issued by the three federal agencies as interim rules, which means they are effective now. But the public has until April 9 to comment on the proposals and such comments will be considered.

These proposed regulations permit exclusions from health insurance coverage based on activities, including horseback riding, that Congress sought to protect. In 1966, Congress passed the Health Insurance Protability and Acountability Act. As we read this Act, it was intended to prohibit health insurers from denying health coverage based on a worker's pre-existing medical condition or participation in legal recreational activities. The legislative history of the Act states that the law "is intended to ensure, among other things, that individuals are not excluded from healthcare coverage due to their participation in activities such as motorcycling, snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicle riding, horseback riding, skiing and other similar activities."

Recreational groups, including the American Horse Council, worked to have that language included in the legislative history of the Act because some employers and insurers were discriminating against recreationalists, leaving them without coverage if they were involved in recreational pursuits. Incidents of discrimination involved the denial of healthcare protection to employees not only involved in illegal activities, like driving a care while intoxicated, but also when involved in legal recreational activities, such as those mentioned above.

While the proposed rules prohibit a person from being denied health insurance coverage simply because he or she engages in riding, they also permit an insurer to exclude benefits for injuries suffered while engaged in such activities. This effectively excludes individuals engaged in such activities.

The AHC will submit comments to the federal agencies in oppotion to this provision. We urge any individual or equine organization to do likewise. Comments must be submitted by April 9 to:

CC:M&SP:RU (REG-109707-97)
Room 5226
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 7604
Ben Franklin Station
Washington, DC 20044

U.S. Department of Labor
Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Room C-5331 - Attention: Nondiscrimination Comments
Washington, DC 20210

Health Care Financing Administration
Department of Health and Human Services
Attention: HCFA-2022-IFC
P.O. Box 26688
Baltimore, MD 21207

A sample letter follows. Please retype it on your stationary and redraft it to make it as personal as possible. This will give it more weight. Send the same letter to each agency. Do not simply send this memo in to the agencie

Dear Sir or Madam:
We are writing in opposition to the nondiscrimination regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) proposed by your agency in January.

Like tens of millions of other Americans we enjoy horseback riding. We participate as follows... Obviously, if we are unable to purchase health insurance that protects us as we participate in this legal activity, it will affect our continued participation.

These rules will affect more than just us. An economic study commissioned by the American Horse Council shows that recretional horseback riding has a $23.8 billion economic impact in the U.S., supports 317,000 jobs and involves 3 million horses. This segment of the American horse industry is growing rapidly. The rules your agency proposes will adversely affect this entire industry.

We support the original Congressional intent of the bill, which is to protect individuals like horseback riders from being discriminated against and denied health insurance coverage simply because they are participating in a legal, recreational activity. We urge you to change the proposed rules to ensure medical coverage, including benefits, for injuries that may occur while riding and engaging in other legal, recreational activities.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

More Stories

  • Morgan Honors at USEF Convention

    AMHA is pleased to congratulate Morgan trainer Mike Goebig of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, as the 2017 Pegasus Medal of Honor recipient. Mike received this great honor at last evening's US Equestrian's awards dinner... Read More
  • NWSA Fall Classic Selects Judge

    The Northwest Saddlebred Association Fall Classic Horse Show has named Bill Waller to be the judge for this year’s show. The event is scheduled for Sept. 19-22, 2018 at the Oregon Horse Center in Eugene, Oregon. Read More
  • Freedman's Announces Release of New Saddle Pad

    Freedman’s is proud to launch their newest product, The Freedman Acavallo Memory Foam Gel Pad. The Freedman Acavallo Memory Foam Gel Pad is a full compression, non-slip pad, specifically designed to fit discreetly under Freedman’s cut back saddles... Read More
  • Far West Morgan Regional Joins Country Classic

    The Far West Morgan Regional Championship Horse Show has big changes in store for participants in 2018. Last year Far West was held in conjunction with the Oregon Morgan Classic at the Oregon Horse Center in June. Read More
  • River Ridge Charity Selects Judging Panel

    River Ridge Charity is fast approaching and is scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday, April 25-28, 2018 at the Ohio Exposition Center in Columbus, Ohio... Read More
  • ASHA Welcomes New Directors For 2018

    The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) is pleased to announce the election of seven (7) new members to its Board of Directors, who will join the Board at the UPHA & ASHA Conference, which will host the ASHA annual meeting on February 1, 2018. Read More
  • David L. Howard to be Honored for Lifetime Achievement

    The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) has announced its annual award recipients, based on ballots tabulated by the ASHA Board of Directors. Nominees for each award are received from the general membership and committee volunteers, screened by the ASHA Executive Committee, and voted on by the full Board from the candidates selected. Read More
  • Iowa Horse Shows Associations Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet

    The Iowa Horse Shows Association will hold their annual meeting and awards banquet on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at The Prairie Meadows Event Center, Altoona, IA. Events begin at 3:30 PM with the annual membership meeting of the Iowa Horse Shows Association followed by the Iowa American Saddlebred Association meeting. At 5:30 PM the American Saddlebred Futurity of Iowa will hold their Stallion Service Auction. The Banquet and Awards ceremony will begin at 7 PM. Read More
  • 2018 AMHA Convention Schedule

    Come celebrate Valentine’s Day with your favorite breed and those who share the same passion as you at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, Kentucky, for the 2018 AMHA Annual Convention and Awards Gala... Read More
  • Jubilee Regional Morgan Horse Show Takes Hiatus for 2018

    Due to continued uncertainty at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, the committee for the Jubilee Regional Morgan Horse Show has voted to take a one-year hiatus from hosting the show traditionally held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield at the end of August... Read More