Letter to the U.S. Senate


The Honorable _______ ____________

United States Senate

____ Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Re: Interim Final Rule on Non-discrimination in Health Coverage in the Group Market relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of1996 (HIPAA)

Dear Senator _____________________:

It has come to my attention that three federal agencies have adopted an interim rule that could be penal to skiers, snowboarders, and other recreationists. The rule allows health plans the opportunity to deny skiers and snowboarders the benefit of medical insurance coverage if injured while participating in these sports. Essentially the rule allows skiers and snowboarders to enroll in group health plans, but then allows groups health plans to deny the benefits of coverage if injuries occur while participating in these sports. There is no good rationale for discriminating against skiers and snowboarders in this manner.

This rule is contrary to Congress' intent in initially passing HIPAA in 1996, which was to prohibit discrimination and provide similar benefits to similarly situated individuals.

I urge you to remedy this situation by enacting legislation that will protect skiers and snowboarders from having to pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses that should be covered by their insurance plans. Skiing and snowboarding are healthy, active, outdoor sports that do not deserve to be targeted in this fashion.