AFBA Fall 2013 Newsletter

President's Call

VETERANS DAY—In honor of the upcoming Veterans Day, Armed Forces Benefit Association (AFBA) salutes our valued veterans and takes pride in serving them and those on active duty, as well as their families, with our products and services. AFBA has been securing your families’ futures for over 66 years. Please see the article on the significance of Veterans Day.

THANK YOU—We would like to thank our members for bearing with us while we converted to a new policy administration system. You should now notice a vast improvement in customer service response times and reduced hold time on the telephones. We continue to improve self-service options to help manage your accounts more efficiently. We are also in the process of enhancing our website and social media presence to provide additional avenues for you to communicate with us. The bottom line is that we are MAKING SUBSTANTIAL UPGRADES IN TECHNOLOGY to better serve AFBA members and their families.

BROAD ARRAY OF BENEFITS—We believe that our members deserve a broad range of benefits that address your families’ financial needs. This newsletter includes information on some of our most popular benefits.

TRICARE SUPPLEMENT—As of October 1, TRICARE Prime is no longer available for most retired and survivor military beneficiaries who live more than 40 miles from a military hospital, clinic, or base closure site. If this affects you, keep in mind that AFBA offers affordable TRICARE supplements to reduce your cost share and co-payments. ADDITIONALLY, TRICARE has now been made available to same-sex partners who are legally married, and their dependent children. See the TRICARE article for more details.

CHILDREN’S INSURANCE—For parents and grandparents, we offer a very affordable low-priced children’s life insurance program called “Smart Start.” It is very easy to apply for this program and it is the right thing to do for your children and grandchildren.

YOUR LIFE INSURANCE—AFBA continues to offer traditional term life insurance programs with no war or terrorism exclusions. These programs are designed specifically for you.

LIFE-CHANGING EVENTS—As major changes occur in your life, we urge you to take the time to review your life insurance needs and add coverage as necessary.  You can use our online tools or call one of our knowledgeable and friendly representatives at (800) 776-2322.

ALLIANCES


A GROWING CONCERN—
One issue of growing concern to military families is the increasing number of suicides. There are about five more suicides per 100,000 people in the military than in the general population. The article below discusses this topic, as well as what the military is doing about it and what resources are available for those who need help. AFBA applauds the DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs for their efforts to address this issue. At-risk groups include those with head injuries, PTSD, mental disorders, substance abuse problems, and trying, life-changing events.

AFBA IS ALWAYS WITH YOU—From the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf conflicts, to the attack on the Pentagon, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to storms in Oklahoma, fires and floods in Colorado, and to the federal worker furloughs, AFBA always works with our members to protect your family’s future. The member always comes first.

AFBA’S LEADERSHIPWe continue to be grateful for the attentive oversight and governance provided by a distinguished Board of Directors, whose bios are posted on our website.

TO BETTER SERVE YOU—Are you pleased with our services? Pass the word—tell your friends about us and refer them to www.afba.com. If there is something you think AFBA can do better, please let us know by emailing edeberhart@afba.com or use the member feedback section on our website.

General Ralph E. "Ed" Eberhart, USAF (Ret.)
President & Chairman

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The Significance of Veterans Day

By Meera Dolasia. Reprinted with permission of DOGOnews.com. DOGOnews.com is the leading source of fun and inspiring current events and news for children.

This weekend, as you are enjoying the three-day holiday in honor of Veterans Day, do take at least a few minutes to pay your respects to all the men and women who have served the country in our armed forces. These include the members of the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the Coast Guard.

Originally dubbed Armistice Day, it was first declared a holiday in 1938, to commemorate the end of World War 1, which happened at 11.am on 11/11/1918. Since then, the day, which was dedicated to the cause of 'World Peace' has always been celebrated on November 11th. In 1954, after the US had been involved in two other wars, World War II and the Korean War, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day, in honor of the veterans of all the wars.

Many people are not aware of the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. While both honor our military personnel, the former is a day to remember and honor all the men and women that died serving our country in a war, while today, we celebrate all the living veterans who have served in the forces whether in peace or war.

Though several other countries celebrate this day in honor of their own veterans, the celebration is slightly different in each country. Some, like the United Kingdom celebrate it in honor of all soldiers, living or dead, while others like Canada celebrate it in honor of all living veterans. They also call it different names. France and New Zealand still call it Armistice Day. In the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, it is dubbed Remembrance Day and in Malta and South Africa, it is called Poppy Day.

No matter what it is called, the reason for observing the day is the same - To show our gratitude to the brave men and women who sacrifice everything to make this world a safer place for the rest of us.


And lastly, a grammar question. What does Veterans Day have to do with one of the most common grammar mistakes? Why doesn't it have an apostrophe?

Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an "s" at the end of "veterans" because it is not a day that "belongs" to veterans, but a day for honoring all veterans.

To honor Veterans Day, AFBA will be closed on Veterans Day, November 11th, 2013.

Happy Veterans Day.

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AFBA Members are Invited to Apply for Auto Loans from PenFed

In July 2013, PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) and AFBA announced a new marketing alliance. Under the terms of this exciting agreement, PenFed will be allowed to extend its industry-leading auto financing and car buying services to AFBA members, and PenFed members in turn will have access to AFBA’s complete selection of life insurance programs.

AFBA members now have access to PenFed’s Car Buying Service and auto financing. The online Car Buying Service will give AFBA members the ability to research new and used vehicles, get safety information, see photos and videos of vehicles, read reviews, and receive negotiated price quotes on vehicles from dealers in their area.

In addition, PenFed’s auto lending program offers some of the lowest rates in the marketplace. Starting October 1st, AFBA members can now benefit from a 1.99% APR on new and used vehicles. What are you waiting for? Get behind the wheel of a new or used car with PenFed today. 

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Exclusive GEICO Discounts for AFBA Members

AFBA members can save even more on insurance from GEICO! With GEICO you’ll enjoy:

Get a free quote: www.geico.com/mil/afba or call (800) 368-2734.

Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Discount amount varies in some states. One group discount applicable per policy. Coverage is individual. In New York a premium reduction may be available. Motorcycle coverage is underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. Motorcycle insurance is not available in all states. Renters coverage is written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. GEICO Gecko image © 1999-2013. © 2013 GEICO

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Important Changes to TRICARE

TRICARE SUPPLEMENT—As of October 1, 2013, TRICARE Prime is no longer available for most retired and survivor military beneficiaries who live more than 40 miles from a military hospital, clinic, or base closure site. If this affects you, keep in mind that AFBA offers affordable TRICARE supplements to reduce your cost share and co-payments.

Many AFBA members that have been affected by the TRICARE Prime Service Area reduction are now using TRICARE Standard. Here are some of the differences between TRICARE Prime (P) and Standard (S).

HOW DO I GET CARE?
P—Primary Care Manager (PCM) provides most care; gives referrals when needed
S—May select any provider; no referrals required; reimbursement rates may vary

DO I HAVE TO ENROLL?
P—Annual enrollment is required
S—No enrollment is required

IS THERE AN ANNUAL FEE?
P—$269.28 for individuals; $538.56 for families
S—No annual fee

IS THERE AN ANNUAL DEDUCTIBLE?
P—No annual deductible unless using Point-Of-Service option:
      $300 for individual; $600 for family
S—Retirees annual deductible is: $150 per individual; $300 per family

HOW MUCH DO OUTPATIENT VISITS COST?
P—In-network: $12 per visit for retirees
      Non-network w/ PCM referral: $12 per visit for retirees
      Non-network w/o PCM referral: 50% of allowable charge after deductible is met
S—Network provider: 20% of negotiated fee after deductible is met
      Non-network: 20% of allowable charges after deductible met

WHERE IS THE PLAN AVAILABLE?
P—In the United States in Prime Service Areas ONLY
S—Worldwide

As you can see, TRICARE Standard provides you a measure of freedom and coverage that you did not have with TRICARE Prime. However, this freedom comes with additional costs. When you combine TRICARE Standard with the AFBA Supplement benefit, you have a comprehensive benefit that provides financial security and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve provided for your family's well-being.

Even if you are not affected by the change in TRICARE and you have TRICARE, the AFBA supplement is available to you and your family.   

Eligible plans for AFBA Supplements members:

Same-Sex Partners

You may be aware that recently, there was a Supreme Court ruling that found the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. As a result, DOMA was overturned and TRICARE has been made available to same-sex partners who are legally married and their dependent children.
 
The Department of Defense (DoD) will recognize all marriages that are certified with a valid marriage certificate from a jurisdiction that recognizes same sex marriage. This change will be made retroactive to June 26th. Domestic partners, however, are not eligible for TRICARE.
 
Domestic partners will be offered additional benefits by the DoD but these additional benefits do not include TRICARE. Therefore, domestic partners and their dependent children are not eligible to enroll in the TRICARE Supplement Plan since they are ineligible for TRICARE.

Please call the AFBA TRICARE Supplement phone line at (855) 311-1478.

Click here to join the several hundred AFBA members and start saving today!

Plan administered by Association & Society Insurance Corporation. Underwritten by Monumental Life Insurance Company (Cedar Rapids, IA); in New York, by Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Company (Harrison, NY).

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Provide Your Child or Grandchild with Life Insurance Coverage Up to $15,000 with a Low One-time Payment

Smart Start is your opportunity to provide life insurance protection for a child and guarantee his or her future insurability, regardless of what happens in life. Smart Start is easy and affordable.

If your child or grandchild is between the ages of 14 days and 18 years, you can get coverage that will continue up to age 25. No medical exam is required to apply for Smart Start. Smart Start term insurance is available in two coverage amounts with a low one-time payment:  

At age 25, the insured can convert to a whole life insurance policy, with a one-time guaranteed purchase option up to five times the original face value ($50,000 for the $10,000 term policy or $75,000 for the $15,000 term policy), with no physical exam. What a great way to guarantee life insurance coverage regardless of future health considerations. To learn more and apply today, call us at (800) 776-2322.

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Home Loan News

5Star Bank is helping AFBA members with home loans. "The historically low interest rates for home loans continue," observes Mike League, President and CEO of 5Star Bank. "In 2011 and 2012, we helped veterans and their families secure low rates on VA and conventional loans*. I’d encourage our members to find out what 5Star Bank Home Loans can do to help their situation."

Our home loans are available to AFBA members in all 50 states. AFBA members receive a $100 Visa gift card after closing their loan with 5Star Bank.

Call (877) 268-1240 to speak with a 5Star Bank mortgage consultant or visit www.5StarBankHomeLoans.com to learn more.

*Certain eligibility requirements for Veterans Administration loans must be met by applicant(s). All loans are subject to credit approval.

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Suicide Remains a Big Issue in the Military Community

Suicide is undoubtedly one of the biggest issues facing the military community. Whether it is servicemembers who have separated from service, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, or active duty troops, the rate of servicemembers taking their own lives is on the rise. Both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon plan on taking steps to address the problem in the coming years, and there are many resources available to servicemembers grappling with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other conditions that may increase the risk of suicide.

Issue on the Rise

There’s no question that 2012 was a bad year for the military in terms of suicide. Pentagon statistics show 349 servicemembers took their own lives last year, which was up considerably from the 301 in 2011, and from the more than 295 Americans killed in combat. In response to the startling statistics, Senator Patty Murray, the former chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said that her colleagues in Congress should do more to address the issue. "This is an epidemic that cannot be ignored," she said earlier this year, according to The Associated Press. "As our newest generation of servicemembers and veterans face unprecedented challenges, today’s news shows we must be doing more to ensure they are not slipping through the cracks."

Pentagon Recognizes the Issue

Given the rise in the number of servicemembers committing suicide, it’s no surprise that the Pentagon has made prevention a priority. Still, experts say addressing suicide in the military is not an easy task. Kim Ruocco, who heads a Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), says that it’s nearly impossible to be with at-risk individuals every hour of the day to make sure they don’t take their own life. Instead, she says, the goal is to recognize risk factors, whether they be PTSD, substance abuse, or trouble transitioning, and make servicemembers aware that there are resources available to them. “Now that we’re decreasing our troops and they’re coming back home, that’s when they’re really in the danger zone," Ruocco, whose husband killed himself in 2005 after serving in Iraq, told the AP.

Glimmers of Progress

Some outposts in the military have shown success in preventing suicides, including Fort Bliss. The New Mexico/Texas installation had the lowest suicide rate in the military during 2012 and actually saw a decrease from 2011 to 2012. Officials at Fort Bliss say there is no magic solution to curbing suicide rates, but rather resilience and a well-rounded approach to education about risk may be the best methods. The base has also made a concerted effort to reduce behaviors such as drug abuse, as well as motor vehicle accidents and other deaths that can be prevented. “Our approach creates layer upon layer upon layer of safety nets," explained Army Lt. Col. Leonard Gruppo.

Resources Available

Veterans and active duty servicemembers should know that they have resources available to them if they are considering suicide. Specifically, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates a 24-hour counseling service not only to servicemembers, but also to their family members. Known as the Veterans Crisis Line, servicemembers can dial (800) 273-8255 and press 1, or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net, or text 838255. Since it was launched in 2007, the line has fielded more than 650,000 calls. There are a number of other places servicemembers can turn as well, including the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which can be reached at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

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Member Benefits

Why Long-Term Care Insurance?

For all of us, providing our family with a safe and secure future is our number one priority.  November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month. During this time, we encourage you to review your financial goals and think ahead about how you and your family would want to manage a long-term care situation.
 
AFBA has been offering the John Hancock Long-Term Care Policies to our members for the past 17 years. To read about John Hancock's financial strength and stability, click here. For information specific to your situation, please contact John Patrick Murphy, CLU, at jpmurphy@jhnetwork.com or (703) 450-7344.

2013 Financial Planning & Benefits Guide

AFBA’s complimentary 2013 Financial Planning Guide (FPG) is a 100-page booklet available to all AFBA members and their families upon request. This valuable resource includes information on:

Request a copy of the 2013 FPG by calling (800) 776-2322. You can also download the guide (in PDF form) from our website by clicking here.

Maintaining Your Health

In 2012, Life Line Screening found 2 critical health issues in AFBA members, 8 possibly significant issues, and 336 moderate issues, out of 622 who took the carotid test. These screenings enabled members to maintain their health. Life Line Screening offers noninvasive, ultrasound screenings to identify the risk of stroke, vascular disease, and osteoporosis. This program also screens for blocked carotid arteries, abdominal aortic aneurysms, atrial fibrillation and peripheral arterial disease.

Booking an appointment with Life Line Screening is easy. Simply go to www.LifeLineScreening.com/afba or call (888) 653-6190. The special AFBA member rate for the screening is only $139.

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AFBA Updates

Updating our Digital Infrastructure

The conversion to the new policy administration system is complete and the Legacy Modernization effort started many years ago is beginning to pay off.  Thank you for bearing with us during the transition. We have a number of important projects in the works—we are in the process of adding 22 terabytes of additional disk space to support the growing business, we have a new call center system that provides many self-service options for the members, and we're putting a lot of attention into our web site and social media. All of these things, taken together, show a strong investment in technology that will help our members manage their policies and payments.

Online Enrollment for Life Insurance

With today’s hectic schedules, we all know how difficult it is to find time to get everything done. Our busy schedules are filled with commitments, and our own personal errands and projects seem to fall by the wayside.

AFBA’s secure, private, online enrollment tool may be just what you are looking for to help manage your life insurance needs quickly and easily. You can now find out if you have the right insurance to meet your financial needs, as well as complete a life insurance enrollment form and submit it for underwriting, from the privacy of your home, whenever you want. Simply click the "Get a Quote" button or click here, and the system will guide you to the best product options available, based on your unique responses.

Note: Life Insurance products underwritten by 5Star Life Insurance Company. Not all products are available online or in all states.

Member Testimonials

We are very proud of our consistent high marks in customer service. Below are some examples of the many kind testimonials we receive each week. This was sent to our Claims Department, which handles paying beneficiaries.

Dear Mr. Mendelson,

I just wanted to take a moment and thank people of the AFBA for how well they handled my recent death claim. The people I talked to over the phone were both very professional and knowledgeable in their conversations with me and did much to reassure me over the policy details. More than that, they were very compassionate in their treatment of me during this tough time. I had not considered the policy I had with AFBA for some years. It was only on the death of my son that it came to mind. The payment received from AFBA was sufficient to cover the costs of my son's disposition and removed the financial worries from my long list of things to worry about. Again, thank you all so much for being there when I really needed the support.

- Retired Captain

Following are just a few of the most recent letters sent to our customer service department:

Very good experience. I would recommend AFBA for all my Banking, credit, and life insurance.
-Retired Air Force MSgt from RI

Service could not be better. Thank you very much.
-Retired Army SFC from TN

I think AFBA is an excellent company. My representative today was outstanding.
Retired Navy Lt from NC

Very satisfied with the service. I would recommend you to anyone who wanted to take out coverage.
-Retired Navy Petty Officer from AL


Contact Us

If you want to speak with an experienced customer service representative or be contacted by one of our field service representatives, call (800) 776-2322. They are ready to take your call!

HOURS:
Monday through Friday
8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Eastern Time

Reduced staffing after 5:30 PM Eastern Time

Insurance underwritten by 5Star Life Insurance Co. (Baton Rouge, LA), rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best (2/7/2013).

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