Party At Your Own Risk


Did you know that there are laws in about half the states that prohibit an insurance company from paying your medical bills if you are injured while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

Some commentators say the laws are archaic and blame the insurance companies.  I recently read, “Some Insurers Deny ER Coverage To People Who Have Been Drinking.”

The purpose of this post is not to promote a political agenda.  The laws may indeed be old and obsolete.  They were, however, passed by the states a decade or more after the country’s experiment with Prohibition failed.

The purpose of this post is 2-fold

PUT BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS

This writer, and many others, wants to blame the health insurance companies for something they have no control over.  If people must blame someone because a medical claim was declined for treatment in the E.R. resulting from alcohol or drug influence, the blame needs to be given to the state legislatures.  The insurance companies are just following the letter of the law when they decline a medical claim for injury when it was caused when an individual is under the influence of alcohol.

There are no state laws that prohibit you from drinking.  There are, however, laws that require you to pay for your own injuries if you elect to drink.

UNDERSTAND YOUR POLICY

If you live in a state that does not allow insurance to pay your medical claims for injuries sustained while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it will show in the EXCLUSIONS section of your health insurance policy.

By dusting off your health insurance policy and reading the Exclusions section, you will know if it is safe for you to drive to that party.  If you have one-too-many, attempt to drive home and have an accident, not only is it questionable if your auto insurance will pay for any damage or injuries you cause to others, you may be liable to pay for any medical bills you incur for yourself.

If you read your insurance policies before you head out to that party, you may learn that the cost of that extra “free” drink can be massive.

Tim Barnes, CLU is the parent of an alcoholic.  He understands the importance of learning what is and is not covered while you are sober and able to make an informed decision about drinking.  Understanding what your insurance company will and will not pay is part of drinking responsibly.

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