Feds Might Not Certify Boston as 'Act of Terror'

Property damage too low for certification, but health care costs could top $9M
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2013 7:49 AM CDT
Updated Apr 18, 2013 8:00 AM CDT
Feds Might Not Certify Boston as 'Act of Terror'
Despite President Obama calling the bombings at the Boston Marathon "terrorism," the government might not be able to certify the bombings as terrorism for insurance purposes.   (MrTVcommercial)

President Obama has called the Boston Marathon bombings terrorism, but apparently insurance companies aren't inclined to agree. After 9/11, Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program to help stabilize terrorism insurance premiums, and under that federal law, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew must certify violent incidents as an "act of terrorism," along with Secretary of State John Kerry and AG Eric Holder. However, no such certificate has been issued for the Boston bombings, and with property damage expected to be less than the $5 million threshold, Lew cannot certify the attack, reports the Wall Street Journal.

But while property damage may not rise above $5 million, medical costs could easily top $9 million, says NBC News. Boston's hospitals have been lauded for the amazing job they did in treating more than 180 wounded, but that sort of response costs big money, and the prosthetic devices and rehabilitation that will be needed will increase costs even more over time. Each emergency room visit costs an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 and longer-term hospitalizations can cost upward of $200,000. Hospitals might reduce their rates for some hardship cases or not bill entirely, but administrators say they have not begun to think about costs. “This is going to be really expensive," says one health economist. (Read more Boston stories.)

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