It’s a parent’s worst nightmare as they watch from the stands as their child participates on the field or court in athletic competition. In a split second, their child can be lying on the ground, writhing in pain.
While the gambit of emotions swirl around, one thought generally goes to “I hope my child’s medical expenses will be affordable and I hope that sports insurance will cover them.”
But does the insurance provider that the county school districts mandate pay for the expenses your child’s injury have racked up?
So what exactly is sports insurance? The Florida High School Athletic Association mandates, each school has a medical base plan of $25,000 per athlete before the student can even step foot on to the field of play.
But rates across the state differ from county to county.
MORE INFO: Florida High School Athletic Association
Take football in Hillsborough County. It costs $50 dollars to insure your child.
“The way it works is, whatever sport you’re playing, you pay that cost,” said Lanness Robinson, Hillsborough County athletic director.
Across the bay in Pinellas, there are two different rates offering a low option of $70 and a high option of $120.
But why two different options? Both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties appear to offer the same type of secondary insurance or do they?
“On the field, during practice in any school-sponsored event, that’s what this secondary insurance is for so there are details with in the contract with the organization there is a certain level of coverage there,” said Melanie Parra, spokeswoman for Pinellas County schools.
PINELLAS: Sign up for insurance in Pinellas
A misnomer in Pinellas is an injured athlete without primary health insurance would be covered by the sports insurance. Yet, Northeast head football coach Jeremy Frioud knows otherwise.
“From what I understand, what it does is cover the co-pay on your insurance that you already have, and we have one kid right now that tore his ACL and he’s been going back and forth from place to place to place,” said Frioud.
Yet in Hillsborough county, that’s not the case…
“In the case for those that don’t have insurance it’s a primary and for those that do, it’s a secondary. So it’s both depending upon the personal situation of each family,” said Robinson.
HILLSBOROUGH: Sign up for insurance in Hillsborough
In both counties, parents must report claims with the representing insurance company. In Hillsborough, like any other policy, there are percentages the provider will cover in medical expenses. While in Pinellas, their provider will reimburse a percentage of the expenses paid out.
“The reason we have this insurance in place is because a student might come to us and sign up for a sport. Maybe their family circumstances change and maybe they don’t have that health insurance coverage but at least we know all our student athletes have this secondary health insurance,” said Parra.
So while you’re the ones writing a check to insure your child’s safety, sports insurance is in place to make sure the school districts have insured themselves from any potential lawsuit.