Prohibits an insurer from denying benefits for certain emergency services rendered as a result of the insured being intoxicated or under the influence of narcotics; allows the insurer, where violation of section 1192 of the vehicle and traffic law has occurred, to have a cause of action for amount of first party benefits paid or payable on behalf of covered person against such covered person.
Ayes (58): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Aubertine, Bonacic, Breslin, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Duane, Espada, Farley, Flanagan, Foley, Fuschillo, Griffo, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson C, Johnson O, Klein, Krueger, Kruger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Leibell, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Maziarz, McDonald, Montgomery, Nozzolio, Onorato, Padavan, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stachowski, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousins, Thompson, Valesky, Volker, Winner, Young
Excused (4): Golden, Morahan, Oppenheimer, Schneiderman
BILL NUMBER: S7845
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to losses sustained as a result of intoxication
PURPOSE OF THE BILL : This bill would amend the Insurance Law to remedy statutory obstacles preventing health service providers from receiving compensation for emergency treatment they provide to injured persons who are either intoxicated or drug impaired.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Section 1 of the bill would amend Insurance Law § 5103(b) to prohibit a no-fault insurer from excluding from coverage a person who was injured as a result of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or drug impaired, with respect to necessary emergency health services rendered in a general hospital, including ambulance services attendant thereto and related medical screening. It also provides that where a covered person is found to have violated section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law, the insurer has a cause of action for the amount of first party benefits paid or payable on behalf of such covered person against such covered person.
Section 2 of the bill would provide that the bill will take effect 180 days after enactment and will apply to all policies issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after such date.
EXISTING LAW : Under current law, a no-fault insurer may exclude a person from no-fault insurance coverage if the person sustains injuries as a result of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or drug-impaired.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : In 2008, A.10000/S.8294-A, amending Insurance Law § 5103(b)(2) passed both houses but was vetoed by the Governor (Veto Message No. 170). Governor Paterson explained that, while the goals of the bill were sound, it was drafted so expansively that it would have required coverage far in excess of emergency care. The Governor's veto message instructed his staff and interested parties to "help enact a new bill that accomplishes the intended purpose...in a manner that will protect the interests of the health service providers, injured patients and the public."
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT : Under the Public Health Law and the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, health services providers are required to provide emergency medical services to persons in need of such care. The Insurance Law, however, permits no-fault insurers to deny coverage where the insured person is injured while operating a vehicle in an intoxicated state. As a result, health services providers are sometimes not compensated for services they are required to render to stabilize their patients in emergency situations. This is both inequitable to doctors and, by leading doctors to avoid blood alcohol and other tests for intoxication or drug use for fear they will lead to denial of compensation, undermines medically appropriate screening procedures.
In 2008, a bill was introduced to address this situation (A.10000/S.8294-A), but it was vetoed by Governor Paterson because it was not limited to emergency care, but rather would have required no-fault carriers to have reimbursed providers for virtually all health services given to intoxicated individuals.
By permitting reimbursement for necessary related medical screenings, such as blood alcohol and drug tests, more screenings will occur, underlying drug or alcohol problems will be more frequently identified and addressed, and ultimately fewer drug or alcohol-related injuries will occur.
BUDGET IMPLICATIONS : This proposal has no significant fiscal impacts.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This bill would take effect 180 days after enactment and would apply to all policies issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after such date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7845 IN SENATE May 17, 2010 ___________Introduced by Sen. BRESLIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Insurance AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to losses sustained as a result of intoxication THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph 2 of subsection (b) of section 5103 of the insur- ance law is amended to read as follows: (2) Is injured as a result of operating a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition or while his ability to operate such vehicle is impaired by the use of a drug within the meaning of section eleven hundred ninety-two of the vehicle and traffic law; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT AN INSURER SHALL NOT EXCLUDE SUCH PERSON FROM COVERAGE WITH RESPECT TO NECESSARY EMERGENCY HEALTH SERVICES RENDERED IN A GENERAL HOSPITAL, AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION TEN OF SECTION TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED ONE OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW, INCLUDING AMBULANCE SERVICES ATTENDANT THERETO AND RELATED MEDICAL SCREENING. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, WHERE THE COVERED PERSON IS FOUND TO HAVE VIOLATED SECTION ELEVEN HUNDRED NINETY- TWO OF THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW, THE INSURER HAS A CAUSE OF ACTION FOR THE AMOUNT OF FIRST PARTY BENEFITS PAID OR PAYABLE ON BEHALF OF SUCH COVERED PERSON AGAINST SUCH COVERED PERSON. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law and shall apply to all policies issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after such date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD07424-03-0