Sunday , December 3 2023
kevin ware's broken leg

Kevin Ware’s Broken Leg Brings Attention to Student Health Insurance

InsuranceLecturer — It was a broken leg that was heard throughout the stadium. Kevin Ware brutally broke his leg playing basketball for the University of Louisville in a major NCAA Tournament game.

By the time he was rushed to the hospital, there was already debate about the unpaid treatment of students who make their schools millions of dollars through sport and the risks they take every day. Do they all have adequate health insurance coverage?

This is my story for the old year (2013).

The good news for Ware is that the university has a secondary policy on its varsity athletes, and Ware also has his family’s primary insurance so he won’t be paying extra for his rehabilitation.

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But not all student athletes are as well protected. It is possible that Ware will be liable for all health care costs related to the injury after he leaves Louisville. Injuries suffered while students were in school are generally not covered by school health insurance after an athlete graduates from college.

According to a New York Times article by Bill Pennington, if Ware’s medical claims exceed $90,000, he will also qualify for the NCAA’s disaster insurance program.

The NCAA also has additional supplementary insurance for injuries that occur during certain championship events which is good news for students who do not qualify for workers’ compensation because they are not employees.

Is this student health insurance coverage sufficient enough for these athletes, or can some be left with mounting bills? There is some concern over the fact that public schools offer student athletes the same type of health insurance coverage as regular students even though the athletes are putting themselves at much greater physical risk for the benefit of the university.

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These universities make a lot of money off their athletes and a more comprehensive plan seems reasonable. But is that fair to non-athletic students who can incur hefty health insurance costs?

Concerns about unfair treatment of student athletes last year led the California Legislature to pass a law called the Student-Athlete Rights Bill that requires universities that generate more than $10 million in annual media revenue from athletic events to offer the same academic scholarships to athletes.

Injured university and lost their athletic scholarship. It’s an interesting move and time will tell if they will start providing specialized care to these athletes by means of health insurance policies.

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