The Pro Football Concussion Report

A Fan's Look at Head Injuries and the Concussion Crisis in Football

Does Gale Sayers call 1-800 Blue Cross?

The good old days when buying insurance was fun.
The good old days when buying insurance was fun.

07.12.13

“We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about [the health-care law’s] implementation.”

~ NFL spokesman Greg Aiello

Sure, sounds reasonable, why should the NFL step into the middle of this political hot potato? But then again, there’s always the fact that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is the law, whether or not you like the president or taxes or whatever, and Obamacare is perhaps the best thing to ever happen to retired NFL veterans.

An excellent article by Travis Waldon at ThinkProgress.org points out some of the practical issues retired players face and how features of the new health law helps.

For one, former players who played at least three NFL seasons receive five years of health insurance paid in full by the league once they retire. After that, however, they are on their own, forced to pay for health insurance out of pocket. Perhaps if the player is married and his wife has a job with a group insurance plan he can be added to the policy. But it wouldn’t be crazy though for young, healthy football families receiving gigantic direct deposits and active healthcare coverage from the league not to think about health insurance until it’s too late. And out-of -pocket’s not the problem either. After retiring, players will all likely have pre-existing conditions according to health insurance companies. And getting coverage for a pre-existing condition without group coverage is very difficult.

Waldron states,

“The most important fix is its guaranteed issue clause, which prevents insurers from denying health coverage based on pre-existing conditions, opening the door for players who already suffer from injuries that insurance companies wouldn’t cover before.”

Nothing that the owners or Roger Goodell, or Paul Tagliabue have ever come up with has been as significant to aging NFL veterans in need of appropriate healthcare as Obamacare.

The fact that not one owner is willing to say something positive in support of a health plan that actually benefits the players who made their fathers and grandfathers rich and famous (okay, some of them) or that will soon help take care of the players that are currently making them millions (or billions. who knows? more than they can count) says something awful about them. Ignorance, greed, political game playing . . . who knows? Whatever it is, it’s nothing for the youth of America to look up to. Or their parents. The owners should fine themselves.

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