COLUMBUS -- Another school year has arrived and Ohio's youth are also returning to athletic competition. News headlines remind parents of concussion risks and appropriate protective gear. But parents, are you financially protected if your child is injured requiring medical treatment?
Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, as part of her "Think Again" initiative that addresses different insurance topics, is asking parents of young athletes to make sure they are insurance ready.
"Even with helmet safety advancement and awareness injuries unfortunately occur," said Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. "Reviewing your insurance coverage at the start of the season is important financial conditioning."
Each year more than 2.6 million children ages 19 and under across the nation visit emergency rooms for sport and recreation injuries, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. An estimated more than 395,000 high school athletes sustained concussions from 2005-2008.
Health insurance generally provides treatment for sports injury and follow-up care, but that will depend on the specific policy and certain exclusions and limitations can apply. It's important to know specific coverage being purchased.
Parents may also be able to submit a claim with the organization their child is enrolled in. For example, the Ohio High School Athletic Association's catastrophic accident insurance covers approximately 350,000 eligible student athletes in grades 7-12.
To minimize coverage surprises Taylor recommends:
/ Parents with employer-provided health insurance request human resources assistance to learn policy benefits and what could be added.
/ Follow similar steps if you secured insurance elsewhere, such as through an agent.
/ Contact your child's school athletic department or sports association to understand their coverage and how it may interplay with your child's health insurance.
For more insurance information visit www.insurance.ohio.gov or call the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526. Concussion prevention and response material produced by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention for its "HEADS UP" initiative is available at www.cdc.gov//headsup//index.html.