Thousands raised for X Games snowmobiler who died
Friends, family and fans have rallied to raise tens of thousands of dollars to help pay the medical bills of freestyle snowmobile-rider Caleb Moore.
Moore, 25, died Thursday at St. Mary’s Hospital after he was injured Jan. 24 at the X Games in Aspen. After a crash during competition, the Texas native was flown to St. Mary’s, where he remained until his death Thursday morning.
St. Mary’s cannot divulge how much Moore’s care cost, but friends and family are trying to raise $300,000 on http://www.giveforward.com/calebmoore. The site, started by family spokesperson Chelsea Lawson, will disperse all funds to Moore’s family.
If donations exceed medical expenditures, the remaining money will be donated in Moore’s name to the Athlete Recovery Fund, according to a description of the effort’s goals on the site.
More than $52,000 had been raised by Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of donors have posted support and put up funds since the site launched Tuesday. Money will be accepted on the page through May 28.
Justin Godfrey, owner of the website Sledders.com, said he had a few hundred dollars to spare for a donation to Moore’s medical costs, but he decided to put that money toward making decals. The decals, which began selling for $5 apiece at http://www.sledders.com/store/ on Wednesday night, feature a black ribbon, the name “Caleb,” and the image of a flipping snowmobiler. Godfrey raised $4,000 from decal sales in the first 24 hours and donated it Thursday night.
Godfrey said via email Friday morning that sales ticked up to 1,200 decals in the first 39 hours they were for sale.
“There is such a large demand that I need to use some of the funds to have the decals produced,” Godfrey wrote. “After Paypal fees, etc, I would say about $4 of the $5 will go straight to the family.”
According to the Give Forward site, Moore had health insurance but the family still expects a hefty out-of-pocket cost. Every hospital visit is different and Moore’s exact bill remains private.
Dan Prinster, vice president of business development, said Friday that the average charge for the average intensive care stay at St. Mary’s is $130,000 before insurance. That’s based on cases ranging from five to 95 days in the hospital and can include CareFlight transportation, a stay in ICU as well as other parts of the hospital, respiratory or physical therapy and pharmacy charges.
Prinster emphasized the average cannot be equated with Moore’s hospital stay and transportation because each ICU stay is unique. However, because Moore suffered heart and brain injuries, his medical costs are likely to exceed those of the average St. Mary’s patient.
If Moore’s supporters are unable to raise the amount needed, the unpaid amount could be written off as charity care. Prinster said people who are unable to pay in full have their outstanding expenses counted as bad debt or charity care based on their income level. Those with lower income end up in the charity care category if they meet eligibility requirements that align with the Colorado Indigent Care Program’s guidelines.
St. Mary’s provided more than $35 million in charity care between January and November 2012.
ESPN spokeswoman Katie Moses-Swope wrote in an email to The Daily Sentinel on Friday that all X Games athletes are required to have and show proof of insurance to compete.
The TV sports network that sponsors the X Games did not respond to a question about whether the event or the network has ever paid an insurance claim for an injured athlete, but Moses-Swope did write “ESPN maintains various types of insurance coverage and we are currently assessing them for Caleb Moore’s circumstance. We will also be staying in touch with his family on their needs.”
ESPN also issued a statement Thursday indicating it would conduct a review of events and adopt any appropriate changes.
“For 18 years, we have worked closely on safety issues with athletes, course designers and other experts,” the statement said. “Still, when the world’s best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.