The purpose of this bulletin is to encourage carriers to assist their insureds and enrollees in showing proof of health insurance coverage as contemplated by the Transportation Code §661.003.
The Texas Transportation Code §661.003 makes it an offense for a person to operate or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle on a public street or highway without wearing protective headgear that meets safety standards adopted by the Texas Department of Public Safety. However, it is an exception to this offense, and an officer may not arrest or cite a person for the offense, if the person is at least 21 years of age and presents evidence of coverage by a health insurance plan that provides benefits for injuries incurred as a result of an accident while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
Senate Bill (SB) 1967, 81st Legislature, Regular Session, effective September 1, 2009, requires that the Texas Department of Insurance (Department) prescribe a standard proof of health insurance for issuance to persons who are at least 21 years of age and are covered by a health insurance plan that provides benefits for injuries incurred as a result of an accident while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
The Department is commencing rulemaking regarding SB 1967. Until the rule is adopted, the Department wishes to encourage regulated entities to adopt procedures for providing documentation that an individual's coverage includes medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of an accident while operating or riding a motorcycle, to be provided upon the request of a policyholder, insured, or enrollee when such coverage is included in the insurers' medical benefit plan. Documentation may be in the form of a statement affirming the existence of such benefits on: a permanent insurance identification card, a temporary card, or other appropriate format such as a letter on company letterhead.
The Department also recommends that regulated entities inform their customer service staff of the newly enacted SB 1967 and of any procedures for processing insureds' requests for the temporary proof of coverage so that it may be provided in a timely manner.