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A Health-Care Plan For Skiers

A Utah company offers affordable insurance for skiers but no public option.
By Christopher Steiner
posted: 11/12/2009
Need a screw through your elbow?
Photo by: istock photo

Does the prospect of medical bills keep you from dropping into Corbet’s Couloir or off of Alta’s Diving Board? That excuse is over. Xtreme Sports Insurance, a new Draper, Utah, company, is offering a cheap safety net for those worried about broken femurs, torn ligaments, and dislocated hips. 

Starting at $17 a month, XSI reimburses clients who collide with an aspen trunk or get tossed by a death cookie. Robert Scott started the company in March, filling a void he saw in the insurance market: coverage for active outdoor people who don’t carry traditional health insurance. XSI won’t cover a doctor’s visit for bronchitis or getting your cholesterol checked; this is accident insurance, plain and simple. “Most extreme athletes aren’t worried about getting sick,” Scott explains. “They’re worried about getting injured.”

And it doesn’t matter how the injury happens—car accident, ski crash, drunken tomfoolery—you’re covered. The benefits the insurance pays adhere to a rigid scale according to the injury. A broken leg, for instance, pays $1,500 to the client, even if he or she has legitimate health insurance that covers most of the costs. And for each accompanying cost associated with the broken leg, XSI covers you for another set amount: $150 for an x-ray, $30 for a follow-up doctor’s visit.

“It’s just nice to know I have something backing me up,” says Stephanie White, 30, an XSI client and season-pass holder at Solitude, Utah. White suffered a 1997 crash on the hill in which her broken collarbone jabbed through her skin. Then a college student, she had health insurance. But then she went without it for the last six years, until she heard about XSI from an ad on Facebook, where her page identifies her as a BMX enthusiast. “It’s about a 10th the cost of my phone bill,” she says of her new insurance. “I feel like an adult now.”

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