The U.S. Olympic Committee is pushing for reforms on the issue of pregnant athletes losing their health insurance once they become pregnant.
The issue sparked after US Sprinter Alysia Montano wrote an editorial piece in the New York Times. In the article, Montano wrote that she lost her health insurance while she’s pregnant. Montano also said that she’s not the only one who experienced this problem. Another female runner also lost her insurance because according to the NGB’s policies, ‘she isn’t eligible to compete’ because of her situation.
After this issue boomed, three senators wrote to the USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland to ask for the details of the federation insurance program. In the letter, it is stated that “discontinuation of coverage when an athlete becomes pregnant is unconscionable and may put at risk her health and that of her child.”
According to Team USA, athletes are eligible to receive health and medical insurance through the USOC Elite Athlete Health Insurance Program or (EAHI). The USOC provides a certain level of base support to help athletes lessen medical expenses due to injuries and other issues.
However, USOC has its own criteria when it comes to granting health insurance. Involuntary removal from the insurance program can happen when an athlete ‘no longer meets the criteria to remain on EAHI.’ Written notification will be mailed to the athlete’s address, with at least 30-day allotted time to confirm the termination.
Being pregnant may be included in the terms or criteria of the USOC as female athletes need to stop practising for months.
In 2018, athletes can get benefit value of at least $460 or $5,520 annually. Their child and spouses also receive benefits too, under the EAHI program.
Athletes enrolled in the EAHI program can get worldwide treatments, as long as healthcare providers partner with the USOC.