Whose Fault is it Anyway?

Back in the days before Obamacare and mandatory health insurance coverage, underemployed “young invincibles” justified buying a health policy, which many of them would likely rarely use, to insure against an unforeseen catastrophe such as getting hit by a car. The prospect of mounting hospital bills, caused by such a calamity, alarmed a lot of people into getting covered.

But having been hit by a car while riding my bike, I can tell you that your personal health coverage does not normally cover you should you be hit by a car.1 The primary responsibility falls on an auto insurance carrier. If you get hit by a car while walking or riding a bicycle, the driver’s auto insurance is supposed to cover your bills and lost wages. At least that’s the case in a no-fault state like New York.

Here I am in California and, on TV, I see a spot for the state-run insurance exchange, Covered California.

The ad consists of a single shot, craning to follow an ambulance rushing to the scene of a injured bicyclist. On the right, there is an automobile that presumably collided with the bicycle and caused the rider to fall to the ground. The voiceover announces, “it’s more than just health care, it’s life care.”

But unless this was something changed in the Affordable Care Act since I was hit by car in 2006 and 2008 or something is different in California, I’m pretty certain that most health insurance policies would not cover the bicyclist, unless something is amiss with the driver’s auto insurance.

Or maybe it does now… Thanks, Obama.

  1. Your health insurance will cover you should the driver flee the scene, but you’ll have to file paperwork proving that. 

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