By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
This week, as part of our final push to encourage as many Americans as possible to get covered ahead of the March 31st enrollment deadline, the Administration is launching an effort to reach college basketball fans young and old during March Madness – to remind them of the importance of having quality, affordable insurance.
As part of our effort, today, HHS, in partnership with our President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, is releasing new data looking at the economic costs of common sports injuries like sprains and fractures – costs that underscore the importance of having coverage to protect you financially if you suffer an unexpected injury, whether on the court, on the field, or in your everyday life. According to this new data, nearly 2 million individuals had sports-related injuries that were treated in emergency departments in 2012. The most common of these were ankle or knee sprains and leg fractures. Estimated rates of sports-related injuries were even higher among children and young adults under the age of 25. An estimated 12 million individuals between the ages of 5 and 22 years suffer a sports related injury annually, and about 20 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits are among children 6 to 19 years of age.
For those without health insurance, these injuries—which can happen to anyone, regardless of overall health status—can be very expensive. A sprained ankle, for example, can cost you $2,290, and charges for a broken arm, for example, average nearly $7,700. This can be a huge financial blow to young people and families alike.
The good news is that, at the Health Insurance Marketplace, it’s easy to find quality affordable coverage for those unexpected sports injuries—and for important preventive measures like regular check-ups, immunizations and other screenings.
It’s not too late to sign up: open enrollment ends on March 31, 2014. Across the country, 6 out of 10 uninsured Americans can play hard without worry for $100 a month—or even less. That broken arm would take almost 10 years to pay off at that rate without considering interest or harm to your credit.
Whether you’re out on the slopes or playing the boss in a pickup game of basketball after that stressful meeting, you don’t want to have to hold back because you aren’t covered in case of injury.
Security and peace of mind are a click or phone call away. You can sign up 24 hours a day, 7-days a week atHealthCare.gov (which is working smoothly) or 1-800-318-2596. You can even get in-person help in your own community (just visit localhelp.healthcare.gov and punch in your zip code).
Find out just how affordable coverage can be today. But don’t delay. If you don’t enroll by March 31st, you can’t enroll again until November 2014.
To read today’s new report Common Sports Injuries: Incidence and Average Charges visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2014/SportsInjuries/ib_SportsInjuries.cfm