State lawmakers want to make sure insurers pay claims made by people who are drunk when injured. Can your insurance plan refuse coverage for injuries sustained while you’re intoxicated? State Representative Kelda Helen Roys says some do just that. “We’re talking about somebody who burns his or her hand on the grill while drinking a few beers on a Saturday afternoon, somebody who trips on the sidewalk, walking home from a Badger tailgate, or someone injured in a car accident when their designated driver is at the wheel,” said the Madison Democrat. “Everyone deserves the care that they pay for.”
Roys, a Madison Democrat, has authored legislation which would prohibit such alcohol exclusions. Poplar Democrat Bob Jauch is the sponsor in the Senate. “The insurance industry supports alcohol exclusion laws, they were written many, many years ago,” Jauch told the Assembly Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform. “I don’t know how often insurance companies use the exclusion to save money, but it’s simply wrong.”
The bill would apply to employee-sponsored plans and self-funded plans offered by state and local governments, but not private self-funded plans which regulated by the federal government. At least one committee member questioned the need for the legislation, and the consequences if it becomes law. “The purpose of this bill is to get at all insurance companies that are not paying for this right now, under their plans,” said West Bend Republican Pat Stachota. “But, it’s my understanding . . . they do not currently exclude or deny any coverage of an individual injured as the result of alcohol or controlled substances. They’re not doing this right now,” she sad. “But they can,” Jauch replied.
There was no testimony in opposition to the bill (AB-730), which the committee is scheduled to vote on this week.
Bob Hague (:60 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:60 MP3)