In 2006, the NFL instituted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan (“HRA Plan”), which helps eligible retired NFL players with out of pocket covered medical expenses after their NFL-paid medical coverage under the NFL Player Insurance Plan ends. Reimbursement amounts can go up to $350,000.00 for any eligible player dependent upon the participants last credited season.

Part of the HRA Plan included reimbursement for medical insurance premiums, copays, prescription drug costs, medical exams, weight loss program, durable medical equipment (“DME”) and other healthcare related services. Much like most of the healthcare industry, the HRA Plan is not immune from fraudulent schemes seeking reimbursement by HRA Plan participants for services that were not medically necessary or not rendered at all.

On September 8, 2021, the United States Justice Department announced that three retired NFL players had pleaded guilty for their roles in a nationwide scheme to defraud the HRA Plan. Clinton Portis, a former Denver Bronco and Washington Football Team running back was the most notable player to plead guilty for submitting false claims to the HRA Plan for durable medical equipment that was never provided. As a result, Portis obtained over $99,000.00 in reimbursement. In connection with this guilty plea, Portis agreed to pay full restitution to the HRA Plan and is facing a minimum penalty of ten years in prison.