The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced Wednesday that its members have voted to foot the health insurance bill for all retired players who were in the League for at least three years.
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) July 27, 2016
It would reportedly cost around $10-$15 million a year.
The program is the first of its kind in North American pro sports.
From the press release:
“The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us,” said Chris Paul, NBPA President and nine-time All-Star. “It’s important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I’m proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors.”
The unanimous vote—which took place during the NBPA Summer Meeting in New York on June 26—established a multi-faceted health insurance program through UnitedHealthcare, the country’s leading health benefits provider.
The average NBA player’s career in the league lasts just over four years, emphasizing the need for long-term planning for all aspects of life, including health. Since becoming Executive Director of the NBPA nearly two years ago, Michele Roberts and her new executive team have instituted a cardiac screening program for retired players and other initiatives designed to prepare current players for life after basketball and provide opportunities for retired players. […] “I couldn’t be more proud of Chris, our Executive Committee and our entire membership,” said Roberts. “Providing health care security for players who came before them has been on the players’ minds for the past year and they worked closely with us to make it happen. We’re also thrilled to partner with UnitedHealthcare on this initiative. We had many choices, but none matched UnitedHealthcare’s flexibility, experience, clinical expertise, and robust tools and technologies.”