Retired NBA players with at least three years of service time in the league will receive health insurance funded by the National Basketball Players Association.
The NBPA voted unanimously to approve the measure, one it touted as “the first of its kind among North American professional sports.”
MacMullan: Deaths of Dawkins, Malone raise health concerns for NBA retirees
The deaths of Darryl Dawkins and Moses Malone raised red flags in league offices and among retirees, but specialists dismiss fears of higher risks for NBA players.
“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,” NBPA president Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers said. “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.”
In a statement announcing the news, the NBPA said player representatives voted for the measure at their summer meetings in June. The current proposal for insurance received, including deductibles and co-pays, is based on service time in the league, with a minimum of three years, and will be established through UnitedHealthcare.
Open enrollment will begin this fall, and coverage will start Jan. 1, 2017, the players union said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Chris, our Executive Committee and our entire membership,” NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in the statement. “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.”