H.R. 1253, the Health Insurance Restrictions and Limitations Clarification Act of 2009, was passed on March 31, 2009 in the House of Representatives by a vote of 422 to 3. The bill requires that the limitations and restrictions on policy coverage under group health plans be timely disclosed to group health plan sponsors and timely communicated to participants and beneficiaries under such plans in plain English. For example, insurers that issue policies that deny coverage for a broken arm due to a motorcycle collision, but provide coverage for a broken arm in a normal slip-and-fall, are required to inform plan participants and beneficiaries when they sign up for coverage that such an activity is expressly excluded from the policy.

Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) stated on the House floor prior to vote that, “This legislation would ensure that plan beneficiaries who engage in activities such as riding motorcycles, horses, or snowmobiles, or any other legal activity that may result in injury, understand if their health plan won’t cover those injuries.”

The bill was passed by voice vote in the House last year but was never taken up in the Senate. Supporters are hoping that the Senate will consider the measure this time around.

To see the full version of H.R. 1253, click here.