As part of AMA Go Ride! Month
, the American Motorcyclist Association has designated each Friday in April as a "Freedom Friday" to raise awareness about issues that threaten motorcycling freedoms. AMA members can take part in a photo contest related to the issue and win prizes.
Kicking off on Friday, April 5, will be a weeklong focus on health-insurance discrimination. The issue is one of the most important to AMA members, according to Danielle Fowles, AMA grassroots coordinator.
"With the current U.S. economic situation, we are hearing of more employers refusing to pay for health care for injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash," said Fowles. "Imagine getting seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident and then having your health insurance company refuse to pay the medical bills because you were riding a motorcycle.
"The AMA has been fighting this type of health-insurance discrimination for years and is now on Capitol Hill lobbying to change the law so that this form of discrimination no longer exists," Fowles said.
Each week's Freedom Friday photo contest asks AMA members to send a photo of themselves and their bike near a symbol of that week's topic. For the first week, members should send in photos near hospitals, ambulances or anything medical-insurance related to illustrate their concern as a motorcyclist. Photo(s) and the AMA member number should be sent to the AMA at firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered in the contest.
Contest entrants have two chances to win. Each week, two photo winners will be announced and each will receive an AMA gift bag and a $20 BikeBandit.com gift card. Contest entrants will also be entered in a month-end drawing with great prizes, including a Shoei helmet, Tour Master Intake jacket, and Cortech tank bags, courtesy of AMA partner Helmet House.
Complete contest rules are posted on the AMA website at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/riding/goride
In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Among other things, with that law federal lawmakers wanted to prohibit employers from denying health-care coverage based on a worker participating in legal activities such as motorcycle riding. But when federal bureaucrats wrote rules to implement the law, they reversed the intent of Congress, allowing health-insurance benefit discrimination against motorcyclists and others.
"The AMA advises all motorcyclists to check their medical insurance policy for 'Exclusions,'" Fowles said. "That's where the insurance company spells out what it won't cover. If the wording is ambiguous, a motorcyclist should ask his or her human resources or personnel department whether injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes are covered under the company's health insurance plan."
AMA Go Ride! Month encourages AMA members and riders nationwide to renew their passion for riding in the dirt and on the street. It's a month-long celebration of riding that features stories, photos, contests and more. For more information about AMA Go Ride! Month and Freedom Friday, go to www.americanmotorcyclist.com/riding/goride