SkydiverEven though skydiving is a risky behavior that can cause serious injury, Skydiving magazine reports. Where can I get health insurance to cover skydiving accidents? that many health insurance policies do cover injuries that happen as a result of the activity. Each policy varies, so your exact amount and type of coverage may be vastly different than someone else’s.

Health insurance policies can have specific clauses that exclude or charge more for covering risky behaviors. You also still face the chance of being denied coverage, although those chances may improve once federal healthcare changes go into effect in 2014.

How likely is it that I’ll be injured while skydiving?

Skydiving has dramatically improved its safety record over the past 60 years, according to the United States Parachute Association. Membership records from 2012 indicate 915 skydiving injuries from a total of more than 3.1 million skydiving jumps. That breaks down to about three injuries for every 10,000 jumps.

When it comes to fatalities, 2012 membership records from the Association show less than one fatality per 1,000 members. The exact number was 0.55 fatalities per 1,000 members. Contrasted with statistics from 1961, the risk of injury and death has been reduced considerably.

In 1961, membership records show 14 fatalities. Although that number is low, so was the membership. The organization had only 3,353 members and the statistics average out to about 3.6 fatalities per 1,000 members.

Skydiving’s improved safety record can be credited to stricter standards of safety, enhanced training programs, and safer equipment. Accidents can still happen, of course, although the overall improvements and availability of training helps to keep them at a minimum.

What can lead to skydiving injuries?

The highest number of skydiving injuries and fatalities comes from some type of human error rather than equipment error. Human error can be reduced through wise decisions and thorough preparation.

The USPA’s Accident Reports list the various causes of injuries or death, which include a number of hazards you can encounter while skydiving. These include problems with equipment, problems with landing, and incorrect emergency procedures. They also include low turns, low deployment, and low cutaway-reserve deployment.

Collisions are a cause of some injuries and fatalities. They include collisions with a canopy, collisions with an airplane or other aircraft, or collisions sustained after a freefall. Getting tangled up in the equipment is another hazard, as are medical issues that can lead to injuries or death during a skydiving jump.

The nature of the injuries can range from broken bones to torn nerves, ligaments, and soft tissues. Sprains, strains, and internal injuries can also result.

What are the chances my application for coverage will be denied?

Many health insurance companies may extend coverage for injuries sustained while skydiving, but that doesn’t mean all of them will. The chances of being denied health insurance based on what insurance carriers may deem “risky behaviors” will be reduced when healthcare coverage changes at the federal level go into effect in 2014, according to Kaiser Health News.

Until then, insurance companies across the nation are still free to pore over your past medical records and health history to pick and choose which applications they want to deny. Reasons for denying coverage can vary widely, depending on the state and the specific insurance company.

Reasons for denial have included seemingly miniscule incidents or one-time tests, such as wearing a heart monitor for a few days or other procedures that may lead insurance companies to think you have a potentially costly health condition in the making. They have also included situations where the applicant had been a victim of domestic abuse and had sought mental health treatments.

Denial statistics are notable, with a study out of the Government Accountability Office finding nearly 20% of applicants who sought health insurance were denied coverage. The study examined the actions of more than 450 insurance companies and found 25% of them had denial rates that were 40% or higher. That means nearly half the people who applied are denied coverage.

Even if you are not denied coverage outright based on your history, an insurance company may deny coverage under the plan to which you applied and instead offer a different plan that costs more and has fewer benefits. Another option has been to raise the cost of your insurance premiums to offset the potential higher cost of your health care. This option is often used by insurance companies for risky behaviors such as smoking, with a costly premium surcharge tacked onto policies issued to applicants who admit to smoking.

How can I reduce my chances of being denied coverage?

Waiting around until the changes take place in 2014 may not be an option, but doing your homework can be. Checking out the denial statistics from various companies can help you choose a company that is more likely to offer coverage. Also note that denials are much more common when seeking individual health insurance than they are when you’re enrolling in a group plan from your employer or other organization.