Question.. Is Health Coverage-Insurance Provided for NCAA College Athletes?
NCAA Loosens Restrictions on Athletes’ Health Coverage
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has certain rules regarding insurance for athletes who play intercollegiate sports. Most colleges and universities now require that students, playing sports, must have their own insurance policy before joining a team. In many cases, students are often still covered under their parents’ policies; however, this is not always the case.
Student athletes are more prone to injuries than nonathletes, and with the cost of medical care, one injury can incur thousands of dollars of medical bills.
The Collegiate Athletes Coalition (CAC) had developed a plan in 2001/2002 that would provide coverage to student athletes for medical purposes. The NCAA seemed reluctant to hear and change these policies; however, since that time, there had been several changes.
Currently, the NCAA insurance program is available for elite athletes in certain college sports. These include football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and men’s ice hockey only. Certain colleges and universities may however, offer insurance for other sports programs.
Every college and university is free to create its own policies regarding health insurance coverage. Certain colleges assume responsibility for all medical claims, related to athletics, while others do not. Currently, there is no national regulation regarding this subject.
Because of all of this, students and parents are often left confused, not knowing what is actually covered and what is not. This has left many college athletes, and their parents, in debt over their heads with medical bills. One confusing part for many people comes when a student is covered by his parents’ insurance policy. In many cases, these policies have exclusions regarding college sports, especially at the varsity level.
What Can You Do?
To protect a college athlete, there are several things the athlete and his parents should do. First of all, meet with the athletic director of the college. Ask him what the college’s current policies are regarding insurance protection for this student. If possible, get the policies in writing. The second thing is to contact an insurance office and purchase a policy for the athlete. A student is better off with too much insurance protection than too little.
It does not appear that the NCAA is planning on mandating a national policy anytime in the near future. The NCAA does however, work under pressure. If enough colleges, universities, parents, and student athletes complain, the NCAA might be more apt to looking into a solution for this problem.