Texas Legislature passes bill involving insurance, alcohol counseling

Participants from the 2012 North Texas Health Forum cheered the results of their collaboration when Governor Rick Perry signed the 83rd Texas Legislature’s House Bill 3105 into effect this June. With the passage of this bill, insurance companies can negotiate directly with consumers as to whether they will cover injuries resulting from intoxication. 

Co-sponsored by the UNTHSC School of Public Health and Tarrant County Challenge, Inc., last year’s conference on alcohol abuse sparked conversation among legislators and groups from around the state regarding a provision, placed into law in 1947, precluding insurance companies from liability for accident or loss when involving intoxication or substance abuse.  Research has suggested that this provision had the unintended consequence of encouraging medical providers not to screen patients for intoxication or alcohol dependence, because of the risk that they might not be reimbursed for services.  As a result, many patients who may have benefitted from screenings and referrals were not identified, even though most insurance plans now cover addiction treatment services. 

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