Facilitating new access to affordable health insurance coverage, the New York Racing Association Nov. 7 announced a formal agreement with the Jockeys' Guild which extends health care coverage to New York State jockeys.
- By Frank Angst
- Racing, Health, Northeast Region, Midwest Region, West Region, Kentucky, Mid-Atlantic
Amid a changing landscape of funding sources in horse racing, the Jockeys' Guild has turned to state lobbyists to help ensure its interests are considered.
A trust fund established for the health, welfare, and benefit of New Jersey jockeys has taken effect and will provide insurance coverage for healthcare, dental, and vision insurance for riders that meet the criteria set forth under the terms of the trust.
With little response coming from industry groups involved in a Nov. 13 meeting with representatives of the Jockeys' Guild, riders across the country--and Guild representatives themselves--are raising concerns over the organization's ability to provide health insurance for its members.
The Jockeys' Guild is encouraging members to secure their own health insurance as the current policy, the organization's self-funded program, may be terminated as soon as Dec. 31. Meanwhile, Guild officials met with industry representatives Nov. 13 at Keeneland Race Course to seek emergency financial support.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association will address distribution of racing content, equine drug testing, and health insurance during workshop discussions at its summer convention scheduled for July 19-22 in Williamsburg, Va.
The Jockeys' Guild has provided documentation requested by a United States Congressional subcommittee regarding Guild management, finances, and actions related to health insurance policies for its members.
It is an issue covered nearly daily in the news and business columns of newspapers across America. Kentucky schoolteachers recently threatened a walkout over it; grocery workers in California struck for months because of it. Workers and employers everywhere struggle to make ends meet while having to feed its spiraling costs. Health insurance, along with health care costs, could be the single most important issue facing this nation, and it is one that jockeys and the racing industry have been struggling with for decades.
Members of the Jockeys' Guild will not be having a very funny April Fool's Day. On April 1, the family health insurance policy covering 800 Guild members will expire. Because of skyrocketing premiums, Jockeys' Guild national manager John Giovanni said there is not enough money in the association's budget to continue making the premium payment
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