Insurers, Health Care Providers Respond To The Needs Of Elite Athletes

Kaiser Health News details how many Olympic athletes get health insurance, while the Associated Press reports on a new wellness program for NFL players.

Kaiser Health News: Olympians Face Unique Health Insurance Options
You might not have the physique of an Olympic athlete, but you could have health insurance like one. That's the point of a series of ads this year from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, the official supplier of health insurance for Team USA. … The Olympic hopefuls often have other policies, too, especially given their high risk for injury and [the Elite Athlete Health Insurance program's] very high deductible. Still, the plan provides what the USOC describes as "a level of base support ... in order to minimize the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by insured athletes for costs of medical care" (Torres, 7/26).

The Associated Press: NFL Launches Wellness Program For Players
In an offseason marked by Junior Seau's suicide and scores of lawsuits over brain injuries, the NFL on Thursday launched a comprehensive wellness program for current and retired players — including a confidential mental health phone line. … An outside agency will run NFL Life Line, a free consultation service to inform players and family members about the signs of crisis, symptoms of common mental health problems, as well as where to get help. Experts in suicide prevention and substance abuse are among those involved in developing and administering the program (DeBruin, 7/26).

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