Taking a step forward to help former athletes, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced that it will provide health benefits for all retired NBA players with at least three years of service in the league.
After a unanimous vote, representatives made the monumental decision on Wednesday (July 27) that is the first of its kind for professional sports in the US.
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) July 27, 2016
“The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us,” said Chris Paul, NBPA President and nine-time All-Star.
“It’s important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I’m proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors,” he continued.
The NBPA will team up with UnitedHealthCare to provide benefits for retired NBA players. These benefits will include:
- Medical, hospital, and prescription coverage with lowered deductibles and co-pays for retired athletes with between three and six years of playing time who are not yet eligible for Medicare.
- Athletes with seven to nine years of service in the NBA will receive the same benefits with even lower co-pays and deductibles.
- Retired athletes who were in the NBA for at least 10 years receive the same coverage, along with benefits for their entire family.
- Retired athletes with three to nine years of service who are eligible for Medicare can receive a supplemental plan with a $0 deductible and $0 co-pay, along with a low-cost prescription plan.
- Athletes with more than 10 years of service on Medicare will receive the supplemental coverage mentioned above for both them and their spouse.
Open enrollment for the health benefits begins in the fall and coverage begins on the first of the year in 2017.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Chris, our Executive Committee and our entire membership,” said Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the NBPA.
“Providing health care security for players who came before them has been on the players’ minds for the past year and they worked closely with us to make it happen. We’re also thrilled to partner with UnitedHealthcare on this initiative. We had many choices, but none matched UnitedHealthcare’s flexibility, experience, clinical expertise, and robust tools and technologies.”
According to a press release, the average lifespan of an NBA athlete’s career is just over four years.
With the short careers, there is a clear need for long-term planning in not only finance, but also health. This coverage will help fill the health need, matched the current programs like cardiac screenings and ensure that athletes have the resources to live healthy, fulfilled lives after leaving the NBA.
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