At the beginning of June, the beating heart of America—the New York Stock Exchange—displayed some troubling signs. Health insurance stocks were down because too many people were using their healthcare, warned the largest U.S. health insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc.
The culprit for the rising healthcare use is not entirely clear. It could be the ongoing pandemic, the mental health crisis, or opioid overdoses. One other idea? A team of analysts at UBS Group AG dinked out a suggestion that pickleball was to blame for last year’s spike, which Bloomberg rightfully called a “surprising theory.”
Following UBS’s math, pickleball may cost Americans nearly $400 million this year. (Using an average cost of $40,000 a “pop,” that’s 10,000 knee replacements.) If the health insurance industry could pick a demographic as customers, they’d struggle to find a better cohort than pickleball players, who have much deeper pockets than the average American, with nearly half clearing $100,000 a year.
Bloomberg unpacked the arithmetic, and it seems like there was some real creativity in arriving at the final figure—but nonetheless it will likely enter the laminated fact sheet of certified pickleball haters very soon. For pissed-off tennis fans and playground parents, this estimate could mean picklers aren’t just repurposing their beloved public spaces, they may also be taking their spot in the hospital or doctor’s office. Even if you don’t convince your elder relative to put the paddle down, you should tell them to be car
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You Should Talk to Your Grandpa About the Dangers of Pickleball