Facing a major health issue that requires surgery can be not only physically daunting, but stressful financially as well. If a player is in need of a hip, shoulder or knee replacement, the NFL Joint Replacement Program may be exactly what is needed. To be eligible for the Basic Benefit, you must be a Retired Player and an independent, Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon or Rheumatologist must certify, on a form provided by the Plan, that surgery to replace your knee, hip or shoulder is medically necessary. You must then send the certification, along with a completed application, to the Benefits Administrator to obtain confirmation that you are an Eligible Player. The Plan provides the Basic Benefit to any Eligible Player. If you are covered by insurance, the Basic Benefit is the lesser of (i) $5,250 or (ii) your co-insurance for health care items or services directly related to your surgery, such as your co-pays, provided the expense was incurred within one year of your surgery. If your surgery was performed before October 1, 2009, the $5,250 benefit was $5,000. If a player is not covered by insurance and does not have the means to pay for this surgery, he may qualify for financial assistance from the NFL Player Care Foundation. In that case, he will not bear any of the costs associated with the surgery as long as the surgery is at one of several specially designated facilities. In addition, most normal complications arising from surgery are covered in full, up to a maximum of $250,000. For more information regarding the Joint Replacement Benefit Program or to receive an application, please contact 1-800-NFL-GOAL (1-800-635-4625).
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