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Survey provides look into DII insurance practices

Nearly 80 percent of respondents provide at least secondary health coverage for student-athletes

A new Division II survey is offering an important look into the ways Division II schools are providing health insurance coverage for their college athletes.

The survey, a directive of the Division II Presidents Council, was sent to all head athletic trainers at Division II schools in February. Three-quarters of the Division II membership, or 209 schools, responded.

The survey is similar to one conducted in Division I in spring 2016.

The data serves as a foundation for future conversations in Division II and helps inform ongoing Association-wide efforts around insurance management and health care delivery. The NCAA has partnered with an insurance consultant who, in the coming months, will visit a handful of schools in Divisions I, II and III to learn more about their processes. The information will be used to develop helpful resources for NCAA members.

Under NCAA rules, student-athletes must be covered by an insurance policy for athletically related injuries with coverage limits up to $90,000. Beyond that amount, the NCAA Catastrophic Injury Policy kicks in.

While NCAA bylaws do not require that schools offer insurance themselves — coverage could also come from a parent or guardian’s policy or a student-athlete’s personal plan — the survey findings indicate that nearly 80 percent of Division II schools are providing insurance coverage on at least a secondary basis.

Just over half of Division II schools that responded pay 100 percent of the costs for athletically related injuries if a student-athlete does not have primary insurance. Forty-two percent of schools ensure their college athletes have no out-of-pocket expenses for an athletics injury, such as prescription costs or primary deductibles.

“I am pleased with the number of colleges and universities that have stepped up to ensure our student-athletes have coverage against injury,” said Glen Jones, president of Henderson State  and chair of the Division II Presidents Council. “And I’m hopeful this will continue a trend of us really looking across the membership and identifying exemplary practices that we can maybe replicate in other areas of our membership.”

Additional findings from the survey:

  • Eighty-six percent of respondents indicated their school requires college athletes to have primary insurance coverage.
  • If a student-athlete does not have primary coverage, 42 percent of respondents indicated their school provides it.
  • Sixty-four percent of respondents indicated their school purchases an accident insurance policy. Of those policies, 72 percent have a two-year benefit period.
  • Ten percent of respondents indicated their school offers its own self-insurance program instead. Of those programs, 81 percent have a two-year benefit period.
  • Five percent of respondents indicated their school provides alternative financial arrangements, often a hybrid model with some self-funding.
  • Twenty-one percent of respondents indicated they require college athletes to provide their own coverage.

View more findings here: