Being an athletic trainer and working with your collegiate student-athletes can be beyond rewarding. Although a love of sports was probably a big factor, it wasn’t a career decision you took lightly. Years of specialized studying and training in biology, anatomy, nutrition, sports medicine, and kinesiology are often topped off by a master’s degree. And, you also need to graduate with a degree in Athletic Training from an accredited athletic training program and successfully pass the Board of Certification (BOC) exam before you can start.
Needless to say, nowhere in all that extensive schooling does it list insurance administration or claims management. And yet, that’s what many athletic trainers end up handling.
“We see this a lot with athletic trainers,” says James Shipp, a certified athletic trainer and the Chief Operating Officer at A-G Administrators. “They get into the profession to provide student-athletes with incredible health care but then end up getting overwhelmed by a slew of insurance claims that they are expected to quarterback.”
The good news is that there is one easy solution to keep “insurance claims handler” from becoming a permanent part of your job description. And, it’ll also free up more of your time to do what you do best: taking care of the health and welfare of your student-athletes. Oddly enough, it all has to do with what you tell your athletes about insurance.
How to Prepare Injured Collegiate Student-Athletes for Treatment and Hassle-Free Claims
In order to participate in collegiate athletics, the NCAA requires all participating institutions to ensure student-athletes have no gap in coverage up to the NCAA’s catastrophic insurance deductible of $90,000 per claim. The NCAA will step in with catastrophic coverage if expenses exceed $90,000, while the NAIA and NJCAA have lower expense thresholds. But, the murky area not covered by the athlete’s own coverage is where things tend to get confusing.
Personal health insurance is going to have deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket costs that aren’t covered. These expenses can quickly add up to be a substantial amount due. That’s why most institutions purchase excess accident insurance to pay for those expenses not covered under the student-athletes’ personal primary health insurance plan.
It all sounds pretty straightforward. When more than one policy is being used to cover injury treatment and its expenses, however, it can cause an avalanche of paperwork and other issues when not communicated correctly.
“It’s ironic that one of the most important things you can do as an athletic trainer may not be the medical treatments you provide,” says Shipp, “but informing your student-athletes about the insurance process and teaching them how to give the correct insurance information right from the start.”
One Top Tip to Lessen Your Insurance Claims Burden
It may sound like common sense, but giving the correct insurance information to providers during the patient registration process is key to removing confusion, eliminating paperwork, and has other benefits for both you and your student-athlete—now, and later in recovery.
Make sure your student-athletes provide you (and any provider they visit) with both of their insurance coverages’ plan information (I.D. card) and policy number. At the visit, the student needs to say:
- This is a school sports injury.
- Here is my primary health insurance card.
- Here is my school’s secondary insurance information.
The main confusion (and extra paperwork) is often the result of a provider not knowing who to bill. Having accurate information at the beginning will help keep any potential situations from escalating and let the insurance companies get down to business.
Reinforce the need for your student-athletes to give this information correctly to providers if they are injured so that they can reduce hassles while they’re trying to get well. But, providing the correct insurance information can do more than straighten out claims:
- Sometimes student-athletes who don’t realize they haven’t given the correct information may ignore bills or claims sent to them because they mistakenly think it’s being handled by someone else like their parents (or their athletic trainer).
- A simple mistake like this could grow in financial severity with late fees and can even affect the student-athlete’s credit rating. Make sure to tell them to give you any bills they may have received.
- Injured student-athletes who may have gone to a provider or clinic away from campus (such as during COVID-19 when many returned home) may generate claims and expenses outside of your own de facto team medical provider network. That can make it harder to keep track of treatments and their health and can also pull you into confusing and time-consuming claims research.
- Working with an insurance company that has a claims management system can remove the burden of handling claims—but only if the student-athlete is giving the correct insurance information.
With the correct information in circulation with those who need it most, you can now concentrate on helping the injured athlete have the best possible outcome.
How Athletic Trainers Can Benefit From a Claims Management System
Another resource to take advantage of is a claims management system like A-G Administrators’ EGBAR (Efficiency Generating Business Automation Resource). EGBAR can take all that policy information and make your pile of claims paperwork, and all the confusion and research it entails, a thing of the past.
Having your student-athletes’ insurance information entered into a database at the start of the school year, so there’s no need to scramble for information at the time of an injury, is one key to a smooth claims experience. And, when the athlete gives providers his or her complete insurance information, EOBs, claims, and payments are seamlessly connected through EGBAR.
EGBAR is available as part of A-G Administrators collegiate accident insurance programs. You or your staff will no longer have to save claims documents into individual records. Just scan it all, upload it, and EGBAR sorts, categorizes, and creates the accounts for each injured athlete. You have access to a complete online picture of everything that has happened (and is in the works).
- You won’t have to get involved with providers for filing, billing, and payment.
- You won’t need to follow up on outstanding EOBs and information.
- You can see past and pending payment status and know when deductibles are met.
- You can track personal health coverage use and payments.
- You can keep track of claims histories and sport, body part, date of injury, and service.
At A-G Administrators, we’ve been covering collegiate accident insurance needs for nearly 40 years. We provide solutions to over 675 of the country’s colleges and universities. We’re continually advancing our technology to make it easier to handle claims, so you don’t have to.
Get Rid of Claims and Get Back to Taking Care of Your Student-Athletes
Remember, impressing on your student-athletes the importance of correctly sharing their insurance information can make all the difference to whether it’s a season full of claims paperwork or a season full of ensuring the best outcomes for your athletes.
Visit agadministrators.com today to learn more about how we can partner with you. We look forward to connecting soon and talking about reducing or eliminating your claims paperwork.