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Publish date: Jun 6, 2013

NCAA announces increase in insurance coverage
for catastrophic injuries

The NCAA is committing more than $10 million to increase in-home care benefits for student-athletes who have been catastrophically injured while participating in intercollegiate athletics. As a result of this commitment, all student-athletes who sustained these injuries will be eligible for in-home care up to $100,000 annually with an inflationary increase to allow for the rising cost of medical care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the catastrophic insurance program?

Intended to supplement insurance coverage required for all student-athletes in the event of an athletically related injury, the catastrophic program activates after a student-athlete’s medical bills exceed $90,000. Once triggered, the NCAA's catastrophic insurance plan covers the medical costs for an injured student-athlete to ensure he or she has access to needed care. The program also includes a monthly stipend, funds for continuing education and funds for renovations to a home to accommodate a disability.

Read more about the program

Who is eligible?

The catastrophic insurance program is offered to NCAA member institutions at no cost to the school or student-athlete. Benefits available through the program are available to a student-athlete who sustains an injury that leaves him or her totally disabled as a result of conditioning, practicing or competing in an NCAA sport.

The in-home care benefit provides funds for disabled claimants to receive non-medical care in their homes, such as personal hygiene, feeding and daily living activities. 

“When student-athletes are catastrophically injured while playing an NCAA sport it is part of our core values to make certain they have access to the care they need,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “Enhancing the in-home care limit to ensure the benefit keeps up with medical inflation is simply the right thing to do.”   

Beginning in 1988, individual institutions were able to purchase catastrophic accident medical insurance under the NCAA’s master policy.  The level of in-home care benefits varied, in some years including a set maximum, in other years allowing for the level deemed medically necessary by a physician, and in other years including a maximum that increases in five- or 10-year increments. 

To standardize the care provided, the NCAA began purchasing catastrophic accident medical insurance for all NCAA student-athletes in 1992. This 2013 increase makes certain those student-athletes covered by the older policies will receive the same level of in-home care benefits as current student-athletes who sustain a disabling injury. 

Under the new program, student-athletes injured prior to 1992 can receive an increase to their current in-home coverage to align with the coverage offered today.  Extending this benefit to those student-athletes will cost the NCAA an estimated $4 million over the lifetime of the claimants.

The NCAA is committing another $6 million to enhance in-home care benefits for catastrophically injured student-athletes by implementing an annual inflationary increase to the maximum benefit (pending state insurance department approval).  Approximately 20 student-athletes who have sustained disabling injuries and receive some level of home health care will benefit from this enhancement. 

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