The White House is hoping to tap into March Madness to encourage basketball fans to sign up for health insurance by the March 31 deadline -- and plans to release a report today on the incidence and economic costs of common sports injuries, like sprains and fractures.
Senior Obama administration officials will join NCAA and NBA champion Shane Battier for a press conference call to discuss the new report, part of a larger push the administration is doing this week to reach college basketball fans around the country as March Madness begins.
To make the sweeping health care overhaul work, the administration is under pressure to sign up significant numbers of younger people, who are generally healthier and cheaper to insure. In a blog posting, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said HHS, in partnership with its President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, is releasing new data that shows nearly 2 million individuals had sports-related injuries that were treated in emergency departments in 2012.
The most common were ankle or knee sprains and leg fractures -- and estimated rates of sports-related injuries were even higher among children and young adults under the age of 25.
The administration's pitch? That 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, Sebelius writes, "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 report notes that nearly 570,000 basketball injuries were treated in emergency departments nationwide, including over 8,000 that resulted in hospitalization and that 93 percent of injuries were among men.
The estimated rate of sports-related injuries among individuals above the age of 25 is: · Bicycling – 126.5 per 100,000 individuals
· Basketball – 61.2 per 100,000 individuals
· Baseball and softball – 41.3 per 100,000 individuals
· Football – 25.2 per 100,000 individuals
· Soccer – 23.8 per 100,000 individuals