Importance of Affordable Medical Coverage Reflected in Loop Holes in “No Fault” Auto Insurance Laws

Individual or Family Health
Group Health Coverage

Importance of Affordable Medical Coverage

If you are injured in an automobile accident, especially one in which you were 100% not at fault you may think that the insurance coverage of the person who hit you will pay for all of your injuries. Think again.

Many people are under the mistaken belief that they are covered either by their own auto insurance or the”other guy” for all injuries in the case of an accident. This may not always be the case, and is one reason why health insurance professionals always recommend that you are clear about the limitations of coverage on your auto policy. It is also why it is always recommended that you have some private catastrophic health insurance policy to cover you in the case of severe injuries from an auto accident. Even a relatively minor injury can lead to huge medical bills for treatments and rehabilitation, if you are not covered by your auto policy and do not otherwise have health insurance.

Take the case of New York resident David LeDoux. David was riding his motorcycle one beautiful summer day with his wife as he so often did, when a woman ran a stop sign and smashed into them. David’s wife Bonnie was flung into the air, and received only relatively minor cuts and bruises. David himself was not so lucky; as he looked down to see his shin bone sticking out through the flesh of his left leg. A surgeon managed to save the leg, but now six years later, David is on the brink of medical bankruptcy and about to lose his house and everything else he owns.

You see due to a loophole in New York States “No Fault” insurance laws, motorcyclists do not receive the same coverages and entitlements that auto drivers do, even when involved in accident where they were clearly not at fault. At the time David had not worked long enough at his job as a truck driver to be on the company’s group health insurance benefits. It seemed to any casual observer that there should be no question that the insurance company of the woman who ran the stop sign should be responsible for David’s medical bills. But in fact, thanks to the exclusion in the law for motorcyclists, her company only paid roughly $16,000.00. A small fraction of LeDoux’s over $100,000.00 in medical bills.

However advocates for motorcycle riders understand the need for the exclusion. They realize that motorcyclists are high risk, and drivers just are not as aware as they should be when sharing the road with motorcyclists. Changing the laws would make insurance premiums for bikes which are ridden only a part of the year in North Eastern states like New York, prohibitively expensive. The answer says New York State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill is to find a way to make access to health insurance coverage more affordable for all residents of New York State, no matter what they drive or ride.