All truck drivers need to have some type of health insurance. Sadly, many drivers do not have any insurance or they do not have a sufficient amount of insurance to cover their needs and the needs of their families. The bureau of labor statistics classified trucking as a high risk occupation. In fact it is one of the most dangerous jobs. Sleep deprivation and long work hours contribute to accidents. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, truck drivers have the second highest number of nonfatal injuries related to occupation.
Due to long work hours, truck drivers often suffer from fatigue, sleep deprivation, sleep apnea and decreased mental alertness. These conditions can often cause a driver to make mistakes which could contribute to truck driver accidents. An estimated 70% of truck drivers have one or more serious medical condition.
Driving trucks causes vibrations of the entire body which causes headaches, joint pain, lower back pain and musculoskeletal damage to the entire body. Exposure to loud engine noise often causes hearing loss.
Drivers breathe in toxic substances such as exhaust fumes which can cause skin and respiratory problems.
There are a host of additional problems truckers face such as fatigue, ringing ears, neck pain, knee pain, ulcers, constipation, hemorrhoids and lung cancer.
Some divers forgo medical treatment altogether if they don’t have health insurance. Many drivers don’t have a regular provider which can be especially important if they have certain medical conditions which require monitoring. Individuals that don’t have health insurance have more difficulty with health access than someone who has health insurance. This is especially if they lack the necessary funds for treatment. Some frequent emergency rooms and urgent care centers more than the insured.
Drivers who work for major trucking companies can usually get coverage through their company insurance plan which offers group rates. Owner-operators also can usually get coverage through the company they lease to. This is a benefit for drivers because many of them would not be able to afford to buy their own individual policy. The company’s group plan allows them to buy cheaper than they would if they tried to buy their own individual policy because all drivers share the cost of the insurance premiums with the employer. Monthly rates for group insurance are based on the general health of the group, not just that of an individual thereby lowering the cost of being insured.
Independent- Operators usually must purchase their own individual or family policy. Unfortunately, many of these drivers cannot afford the premiums to obtain the amount of insurance they need for themselves and their families. Also, the coverage these policies provide minimum coverage and very limited benefits. Fortunately, there are options available.
Oftentimes, truck drivers have unpaid medical bills. Some of these drivers may be able to get help from the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund a 501(c)(3) organization, For more information on the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund click here.
The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, (OOIDA) is a company which fights for the rights of all professional truckers. A membership in OOIDA affords you a wide range of benefits including health insurance at group rates. To get more information on OOIDA click here.