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January 27, 2017 | North America: Michigan

Are there any statistics on health care coverage for athletes?

By Nancy Joseph Recknagel

Special Olympics has conducted extensive research on health insurance with Gallup. 

Results show a large majority of adults with intellectual disabilities (94%) have health insurance. But statistics don’t tell the entire story. Having health insurance doesn’t mean having access to health care. Most of those insured (83%) are being provided government-subsidized insurance, which can be extremely limited. 

We have heard countless stories of athletes who are from countries that have universal health care but still cannot get care. We receive stories of athletes who are theoretically covered by insurance but can’t find a doctor who will see them, understands their needs, or is trained to care for them. To be a great athlete, you need to be a healthy athlete. 

For millions of people with intellectual disabilities (ID), this is a major challenge. Special Olympics works with global partners, governments and policy-making organizations to break down the barriers to inclusive health for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Healthy Athletes offers free health exams and health education to athletes, and training to health professionals. 

Special Olympics Healthy Communities are Special Olympics Programs recognized for their efforts in creating year-round access to quality health care. Through partnerships, fitness and wellness programs, Special Olympics is paving the way for inclusive health around the world.

About Nancy Joseph Recknagel:
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