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Life Insurance Offers Sense of Security
PTSD Awareness
AFBA’s 75th Anniversary
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American Hero – Roy Johnson
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Importance of Long Term Care Insurance
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President’s Message
Member Corner
Servicemembers Aiding in Vaccine Distribution
Save Money on your Energy Bill this Summer
Heightened Awareness of Need for Life Insurance
Proposed Bill to Help for Federal Firefighters
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IN THIS ISSUE

President’s Message

Board of Directors Changes

New Online Claim Form

Military Family Appreciation Month

Honoring First Responders Day

Safeguard Your Digital Presence

Winter Safety Tips

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IN THIS ISSUE

President’s Message

Member Portal Usage

How to File a Claim

SmartStart Children’s Insurance

Thank You to the National Guard and First Responders

AFBA Employee Remote Work Guidelines

2020 Financial Planning Guide

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IN THIS ISSUE

Chairman & President’s Message

Member Service – Online and Phone Enhancements

Welcome WINGA!

Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Social Media Highlights

Membership Growth

Summer Travel Safety

Financial Planning Guide

Member Benefit Highlights

 

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Chairman − President’s Message width=

Honoring the Legacy of Service. As we approach Veterans Day, we remember and honor all who have served this great nation, past and present, living and dead. All Veterans Days are important for this reason and this year is particularly poignant for us at AFBA. In August, General John N. Abrams, USA (Ret), our greatly respected and much beloved Lead Independent Director, passed away. We miss him terribly and extend our deepest condolences to his family and many friends. General Abrams represented the highest American ideals and leaves a distinguished legacy of service.

This year’s holiday also marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I. Those who fought in “the war to end all wars” are a notable example of a generation that sacrificed greatly and made a lasting difference in the history of our nation, and indeed, the world. While this generation of brave servicemembers has passed from our midst, the legacy of heroism they created and the freedoms they protected still endure. To all veterans and their families, thank you for your service and sacrifice.

AFBA, National Guard and First Responders — There in Face of Natural Disasters. Once again this year, severe storms have inflicted great damage to parts of our homeland. Hurricanes Florence and Michael left devastation in their wakes and while the Guard and first responders bravely provide boots on the ground and helping hands on site, AFBA also supports its members affected by these catastrophes. Read how AFBA provides that support, along with some examples of the way the Guard and first responders answer the call when citizens need them most.

Service to National Guard Members Continues to Grow. I recently had the privilege of presiding, along with other AFBA leaders, local elected officials, and dignitaries, at the official ribbon cutting for our new adjunct office in Staunton, Virginia. We are expanding to better serve our growing membership!

The Legacy of Service to AFBA Members Continues. We have recently had a change in command in our Operations team and the mission of providing excellent service to you carries on. Congratulations to Claudia Gabriel on her retirement and to Jill Paulin on her new responsibilities. Read more about our services to you, including our Go Green initiatives, and why keeping your beneficiary information updated is important.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. AFBA participated this September by researching and publishing several articles for members and employees about risk factors, warning signs, statistics, and resources. We are very concerned about the increasing rates of suicide in our general population, and particularly so within our member eligible community. I urge you to review the information in this newsletter and act quickly and decisively to make use of the resources cited here if you, a loved one, or friend is in need of help.

Holiday Safety – Cyber Style. Your wellbeing and safety are important to us. In the past, we have provided best practices and tips regarding holiday safety and this year we are focusing on cybersecurity, especially while shopping online. Make sure you review this timely information before making your holiday purchases.

Social Media. In addition to our website, AFBA uses various social sites to communicate with you, our members. We’ve been busy highlighting items of interest to you and news about our association. We encourage you to follow and like us online!

AFBA Has Outstanding Member Benefits – Pass It On! AFBA provides survivor benefits to your family, and because we understand the unique needs of our members, those benefits are paid without war clauses, terrorism and occupational exclusions, or other restrictions associated with going into harm’s way. And we offer an emergency death benefit – up to $15,000 sent within one business day of notice. We appreciate our ability to provide these survivor benefits through life insurance underwritten by our affiliate, 5Star Life. We also offer important non-life insurance benefits like our scholarship, emergency travel assistance, and preventive health screenings, to name a few. Do you have friends and colleagues that would benefit from being part of the AFBA family? Then we appreciate you letting them know about us! We look forward to receiving their inquiries at www.afba.com or 1-800-776-2322.

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Ralph E. “Ed” Eberhart
General, USAF (Ret.)
Chairman − President


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Click here to read General Abrams’ obituary.

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Observed every year on November 11, Veterans Day commemorates one of the most significant moments in history as World War I came to an end.

World War I, also known as “the Great War” or “War to End all Wars” began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. The war led to the mobilization of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. An estimated nine million soldiers and seven million civilians died as a direct result of the war. In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, world leaders signed the Armistice ending World War I.

One year later, in November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson first established Armistice Day. Congress declared Armistice Day a federal holiday in 1938. In 1954, after lobbying efforts by veterans’ service organizations, the U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act that had made Armistice Day a holiday, striking the word “Armistice” in favor of “Veterans.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation on June 1, 1954. From then on, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

We are fortunate to have a military historian and former National Guard leader, BG Theodore G. Shuey, Jr., USA (Ret.) as a Senior Advisor to AFBA. General Shuey is the author of several books on the Civil War and World War II and an upcoming book on World War I. Click here to read his snapshot of the American Army in WWI .

Those who fought so valiantly in World War I represent the courage, duty and love of this country exhibited by veterans of every generation. AFBA salutes and honors all those who have served our great nation.

On a lighter note, click here to read 20 everyday things that were actually designed during WWI.

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Here When Disaster Strikes

In recent months we have seen extreme weather hit parts of the country causing extensive damage to property and major disruptions to people’s lives. It’s at times of disaster like these that we can show our members that we care by providing some relief. Due to hurricanes Florence and Michael, we are giving affected members more time to submit their payments without fear of losing coverage. When disaster strikes, we don’t want you to worry about losing your valuable life insurance coverage with so much else on your mind.

Read the article below about the valiant efforts of first responders and the National Guard during these disasters.

First Responders and the National Guard Crucial during Natural Disasters

The Southeastern United States has recently been battered by two hurricanes in as many months, beginning with the damage done to the Carolinas in September by Hurricane Florence, and escalating with the devastation wrought in Florida and Georgia in early October by Hurricane Michael. The aftermath has had the effect of highlighting the exceptional work done by the thousands of first responders and National Guard members who flowed into the areas and were critical in storm preparation, search and rescue operations and distributing much-needed supplies.

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Just as the last of Hurricane Michael was finally dissipating on October 16, Forbes contributor Don Yaeger recalled sharing a flight with several dozen first responders on their way to his home state of Florida. When Yaeger asked a Sheriff’s Officer from Iowa if he was going there to help any family or friends living in the panhandle, the man answered, “I don’t know anyone there, I just know this is where I’m supposed to be.”

While those who came from miles away to lend a hand made truly admirable sacrifices, perhaps even more extraordinary were those who helped despite being themselves victims.

CNN reported that in Panama City, Florida, one of the towns hit hardest by Michael, many local first responders and National Guard members were dealing with their own property damage and displaced families while still honoring their commitment to the wider community. “While we’re here at work we’ve kind of got to put those emotions and things that are going on in our personal lives aside, because we have to worry about what’s going on here,” said Panama City Battalion Chief David Collier, whose own home was damaged in the storm. “We have to worry about our own personnel and the citizens we’re trying to protect.”

Over 2,500 Florida Guard members were staged across the Panhandle before Hurricane Michael made landfall with Guard members going door-to-door checking on residents, clearing the roads of debris, providing supplies and security at shelters and more.

The full, lasting impact of Hurricanes Florence and Michael is still unknown, but we can all be grateful for the first responders and National Guard members who were on-hand to keep the immediate impact from being any worse.

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It’s a Busy Time in Our New National Guard Office!

In mid-August, our National Guard office relocated a few miles from Verona to downtown Staunton, Virginia. Founded in 1747, and located in the Shenandoah Valley, Staunton is known for being the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th U.S. president, and the home of Mary Baldwin University, a historical women’s college. For a time during the American Revolution, it was Virginia’s capital as the state legislators fled Richmond and then Charlottesville to avoid capture by the British.

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Our new office is housed in one of the city’s more than 200 historical buildings. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, October 26 with General Eberhart, Staunton mayor, Carolyn Dull, city council members, and other distinguished guests in attendance. The expansion of our office will allow us to accommodate our growing team to better serve our National Guard members.

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New Senior Vice President of Operations

Claudia Gabriel, long-time Senior Vice President of Operations, retired June 30 after 29 years of dedicated service. Claudia was instrumental in providing caring, dedicated service to our members. In the past few years, along with her team, she supported our organization through tremendous growth and ushered in our digital strategy to help serve members more efficiently and effectively.

 width=Jill Paulin, who served as Vice President under Claudia’s leadership, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations. Jill has 21 years of experience in Customer Operations at AFBA / 5Star Life. Hired as a Customer Service Representative in 1996, she has progressively held positions of increasing responsibility in customer service, training, operations, and has been instrumental in the implementation of key enterprise projects.

“Jill’s deep knowledge of our operations and enterprise will be a great asset in her new role,” says General Eberhart. “Her insights and experience will enable us to continue providing “5Star” member and customer experience, as well as advance key long-term strategic projects that help our organization fulfill its mission – serving those who serve this great nation.”

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September was Suicide Prevention Awareness month and AFBA published several articles for members and employees to highlight this issue and provide information for those in need of help themselves or a family member. With the added stress that military members and first responders must endure on the job and at times, aggravated by family separation, they are not shielded from the sufferings of suicide.

Unfortunately, veterans are more likely to die by suicide than the general population. A report from the Department of Veterans Affairs found that although retired servicemembers make up 8 percent of people in America, they account for 14 percent of all suicides. Overall, nearly 21 veterans die by suicide every day, which translates to a rate that’s 2.1 times higher than that of nonveteran adults.

Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder are key risk factors for veterans. As the VA noted, veterans who suffer combat trauma, especially multiple wounds and/or hospitalizations, are at a high risk of suicide. The more times the person was subjected to trauma, the greater that risk increased. Similarly, one study found that PTSD and suicide had a strong correlation – more so than other anxiety disorders.

In 2007, the VA launched the Veterans Crisis Line to help veterans, servicemembers and their loved ones who may be having mental health issues or suicidal thoughts. The Crisis Line offers 24/7 support, 365 days a year, even if the caller isn’t registered with the VA or enrolled in its health care services. To get help call 800-273-8255 / Press 1; connect online; or text 838255.

Suicides among first responders are often driven by emotional strain in a culture that discourages showing weakness. A survey in 2015 of more than 4,000 first responders found that 6.6 percent had attempted suicide, which is more than 10 times the rate in the general population. The survey also found that first responders who felt supported and encouraged at work were less likely to contemplate suicide. The number of firefighters, EMTs and police officers who took their own lives outnumbered all line-of-duty deaths in 2017.

Because shame continues to surround mental health problems within these professions, the public remains mostly unaware since the news media do not widely cover the issue of first responder suicides. Of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States, only 3-5% have suicide prevention training programs.

If you know a first responder in need of help, please share with them the following numbers: Police call 267-893-5200; Firefighters and EMTs call 267-893-5400.

Click here to read our full article on suicide prevention.

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Safe Shopping

With the holiday season approaching, many of us turn to online shopping because of the convenience of shopping from home and the opportunity to compare prices and get the best deal on our purchases. Here are a few reminders about protecting your personal and financial information this holiday season.

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Follow Us On Social Media

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Do you follow AFBA on Facebook and Twitter? If not, you’re missing out on interesting articles, videos, and infographics on a variety of topics. We focus on matters relevant to our members, particularly, veterans and first responders, but there are also general-interest posts on resume writing and life insurance education. Click on the images above to see some of the articles we’ve posted.

Friend us, connect with us, follow us!

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Go Green

Signing up to receive your bill via email not only has environmental benefits, but it will also save you money on postage.

Take advantage of our Member Portal for 24/7 access to all your policies. You can quickly set up a one-time bill payment, set up recurring payments, manage your profile, and download policy related forms.

Keep Your Beneficiaries Up-to-Date

If you have not updated your beneficiaries in the last 2-5 years and have had “a change of life event,” such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child, please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-776-2322.

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Member Benefits and Services

Charles C. Blanton AFBA Family Survivor College Scholarship

Since 2004, the Charles C. Blanton Scholarship has been available to candidates for use towards an undergraduate degree at an accredited college of up to $10,000 per family per year for a maximum benefit of $40,000 for college tuition and fees.

The Blanton scholarship is awarded to the surviving spouse or children of an AFBA member who dies in a combat zone because of combat actions, or whose life is lost because of acts of foreign or domestic terrorism, or while responding to or involved at the scene of an incident. (Not available in Virginia.)

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Home Care Costs Top $50,000 Annually. Long Term Care Insurance Could Help.

The 2018 Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout®, reported that the national median cost of a home health aide now exceeds $50,000. The AFBA Long Term Care Insurance Program can assist you in owning coverage that helps pay for this care – costs that neither Medicare or Tricare are designed to cover. In a simple telephone conversation, they can shop and compare rates with numerous leading companies and help you enroll in the plan that provides the best value – including plans with premium rate guarantees and a return of your premium if you don’t need care.

Call 1-855-581-6647 or visit www.getltci.com/afba for more information.

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Special Discounts for AFBA Members from GEICO

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Save even more on insurance from GEICO!

  • Savings for multi-car policies, good student, safety features, and more.
  • 24/7 support, online or by phone, for claims bill paying, policy changes, and more.
  • Great policy rates for renters, motorcycles, and much more.
  • Storage protection plans with reduced premiums.
  • More than 75 years of service to the military.

Get a free quote: https://www.geico.com/mil/afba or call 1-800- 368-2734.

Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. GEICO contracts with various membership entities and other organizations, but these entities do not underwrite the offered insurance products. Discount amount varies in some states. One group discount applicable per policy. Coverage is individual. In New York a premium reduction may be available. GEICO may not be involved in a formal relationship with each organization; however, you still may qualify for a special discount based on your membership, employment or affiliation with those organizations. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2018 GEICO

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Take Care of You and Your Family with Emergency Assistance Plus® (EA+®)

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Any time you have an accident or sudden illness while traveling away from home Emergency Assistance Plus, available through AFBA, provides a crucial safety net that helps with emergency medical transportation expenses your health or travel insurance generally will NOT cover. With more than 20 assistance services, EA+ steps in to provide Medical Evacuation, Medical Assistance, Travel Assistance, and Assistance for Companions.

Read the true story about an EA+ member to see it in action:

Barry and Sandy packed up their car for a weekend getaway to Houston, Texas. While they were there, Barry fell faint and Sandy drove him to the closest hospital. The doctor said he would need to have a heart valve replacement and pacemaker put in and he was taken into surgery. Two days after Barry’s surgery, he had a stroke. Sandy couldn’t believe the turn their weekend trip had taken.

She was so worried about Barry and didn’t know how she’d manage to get him home after he recovered. But then, she remembered they had EA+! She called and EA+ assured her that once Barry was released and considered medically stable to travel, that they would arrange and provide, at no charge to the member, flights to get Barry and Sandy home as quickly and safely as possible.

A few weeks later Barry was finally discharged. EA+ determined Barry needed additional medical attention during his travels home, so EA+ had a driver waiting to take Barry and Sandy to the airport and even upgraded his airline ticket and provided a nurse escort. The nurse escort stayed with Barry and Sandy all the way until they safely arrived at their home. Barry said, “We couldn’t have been treated any better than that, and no charge to us. We highly recommend this to all of our friends.”

To learn more about EA+ and how it can protect you and your family, visit www.emergencyassistanceplus.com/afba or call toll free 1-855-352-3032.

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Why Wait to get a Preventive Health Screening?

Understanding your risk for stroke and heart disease is the key to prevention. Life Line Screenings go beyond your annual checkup with ultrasound technology that can reveal dangerous plaque buildup or blockage, a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease.

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The AFBA partnership with Life Line Screening entitles members to receive four vital screenings for only $135:

  • Carotid Artery/Plaque Ultrasound: Screens for plaque buildup in the carotid arteries, the blood vessels that deliver blood to the brain.
  • Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm: Screening to detect an aneurysm (enlargement) in the abdominal aorta. Aneurysms can rupture, which is a medical emergency.
  • Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) EKG screening to detect an irregular heartbeat. Afib increases the risk for stroke by five times.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Ultrasound to detect plaque buildup in the lower legs. People with PAD are at higher risk for stroke and heart disease.

Screenings are conducted in communities all over the U.S. daily, making it easy and convenient to fit a screening into your schedule. Call 1-866-895-3365 today to speak with a Preventive Health Advisor, who will help you determine which screenings are right for you.

Do it for yourself. Do it for your family.

Call 1-866-895-3365 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/afba.

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TRICARE Supplement Insurance Plan

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A military family’s health care costs can build up before you know it, especially if you need specialty care outside of the military system. Our TRICARE Supplement Insurance Plan may benefit military retirees and families who utilize TRICARE as their primary insurance. This insurance plan is meant to help protect you from out-of-pocket expenses.

The Benefits:

  • Limit unexpected health costs for loved ones at a competitive price
  • Help cover the gap in your insurance plan
  • Freedom to choose your care from a provider you select
  • Predictable out of pocket expenses

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The features of this supplement insurance plan deliver real benefits for your family.

To learn more about how TRICARE Supplement insurance may help protect your financial future, call 1-800-638-2610 or visit www.afba-tricare.com.

Cost savings estimates based on lowest annual premium for insured under age 40 plus deductibles as compared to maximum out-of-pocket costs that could be incurred without a TRICARE Supplement. The TRICARE Supplement Plans are subject to plan deductible and limitations. See the certificate of insurance for complete plan details. The Supplement Plans are administered by Selman & Company and underwritten by Transamerica Premier Life Insurance Company (TPLC) (Cedar Rapids, IA) and Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Company (TFLIC) (Harrison, NY) for New York residents. TFLIC is authorized to conduct business in New York. TPLIC is authorized to conduct business in all other states. NOT AVAILABLE IN ALL STATES. 1911303

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Take advantage of PenFed’s Car Buying Service when purchasing your next vehicle.

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Chairman − President’s Message width=

We never lose sight of our mission and its importance was underscored as we responded to the recent C-130 crash in which nine Puerto Rican National Guard members lost their lives. See the summary of our response to this tragedy in the article below. Memorial Day also reminds us of our important mission as we honor all the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. We hope this day of remembrance is a meaningful and safe one for you and your families.

In 1947, we began our mission to provide survivor benefits to the families of active duty officers stationed overseas. Our founders likely never imagined that, more than 70 years later, AFBA would have grown into what we believe is the most relevant, dynamic, and growth-oriented association of its kind. Today, your association is more than 640,000 members strong — up over 150,000 from last year! Member eligibility extends to military personnel of all ranks of the active duty component, National Guard, and Reserves. Those who have worn the cloth in the past and have separated or retired are eligible as well. We are also very proud to include First Responders in our ranks as their dedicated service on the home front supports our national security. The response of this community to AFBA’s mission has fueled a great deal of membership growth in recent years, and we are grateful for their participation. DoD contractors and federal employees who serve this great nation every day complete our membership eligibility list. Spouses and dependents of all these groups are eligible for membership. All survivor benefits are underwritten by our wholly-owned affiliate, 5Star Life Insurance Company.

Your association’s significant membership growth in 2017 can be attributed to very positive results from our ongoing operations and the transfer of a large block of members to AFBA from American Equity Life. Fourteen new National Guard state associations and 83 firefighter groups became part of the AFBA family on 1 January. We shared information about this initiative with you last fall and additional details are found in this newsletter.

Board of Directors
AFBA’s Board of Directors continues to guide us with vision and dedication, and our ability to serve you would not be possible without their leadership. Please review the list of candidates this year and complete your ballot. We appreciate your participation in the governance of your association by casting your vote.

Member Safety
We want you and your loved ones to stay safe and secure – physically and online. I recommend the articles on Summer Safety and Cyber Security to you as tools to help you protect yourself and your family. The adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure still holds true today, whether it’s regarding swimming safety or how you manage your passwords.

Financial Planning Guide 2018
Managing your finances and planning for the future is an essential part of your family’s welfare. This year’s Financial Planning Guide is like previous editions – packed with useful information on every aspect of your financial well-being. It has the distinction of being the final year in which we will print hard copies of the guide. As in recent years, a link to the guide is posted on our website for your easy access. Going fully digital next year will allow us to provide the guide to more current and prospective members, as well as include subject tabs, helpful search functions, and more advanced electronic dissemination to ensure that you continue to benefit from this vital information.

AFBA Spotlights on Black History, Women’s History and Month of the Military Child
We are proud of all those who serve and, in addition to our regular posts, blogs and messages about our member communities at large, we also enjoy bringing you information from time to time that highlights the contributions of specific groups.

Service to You
Thank you for your patience as we grew this past year. We are aware that in some instances, the wait times you experienced on the phone were too long, and we apologize. We are fully engaged in expanding our self-service capabilities in addition to making sure we have staff available when you need us. We always welcome your calls. We also realize that you have busy schedules and may not be able to phone in during office hours. Many members prefer using self-service options and the member portal on our website is an excellent way for you to access those options at any time of day or night – when it’s convenient for you.

Member Benefits
Over the years, the portfolio of benefits available to AFBA members has grown along with our membership. Read about the benefits available to you as a valued AFBA member

When I graduated from the Air Force Academy 50 years ago this month as a newly minted Second Lieutenant, I could not have envisioned the full flight path of my career and that it would include serving this fine organization. It is one of the best assignments I have had, and I am honored to be your association’s Chairman and President.

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Ralph E. “Ed” Eberhart
General, USAF (Ret.)
Chairman − President


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 width=Vote for Your Board of Directors

You may view the bios of all Board members by clicking here. We are grateful for their leadership and oversight and encourage all members to vote online. Simply login to the Member Portal and click the Vote button. We will announce the results at the annual members meeting.

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Annual Member Meeting

You are invited to attend AFBA’s Annual Members Meeting. Join us on Thursday, the 28th of June, at 10:00 AM for light refreshments, a short presentation and Q & A on the state of AFBA. The meeting will be held in the AFBA Building, 909 N. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. To attend, call the RSVP hotline at 1-800-776-2322 ext. 2009 or email [email protected].

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Endorsement — Redomestication of Statutory Office

Effective December 18, 2017, 5Star Life Insurance Company’s statutory office was relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska. Our home office remains in Alexandria, Virginia with satellite offices in Staunton, Virginia and Lincoln, Nebraska. Please store the enclosed (except in New York) Endorsement with your policy and/or certificate of life insurance underwritten by 5Star Life Insurance Company. NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUIRED.

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 width=We stand with the Puerto Rico National Guard

AFBA was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of nine Puerto Rico National Guard members last month in the C-130 crash in Georgia. These Guard members served our country with valor, honor, and dedication, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and members of the Puerto Rico National Guard.

All nine were AFBA members and their beneficiaries received a basic SSLI emergency death benefit within 24 hours. In addition, three of the nine had our Better Alternative coverage. In the hustle and bustle of our daily work, moments like this remind us of why we were founded — to serve those who serve this great nation.

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 width=AFBA Welcomes New National Guard State Associations and Local Firefighter Groups

In July 2017, American Equity Life (AEL) let AFBA senior management know that it had made the strategic decision to exit the group life insurance market and focus its resources on its primary annuity market. American Equity was a well-respected carrier in the National Guard market for many years, acting as a pioneer with the State Sponsored Life Insurance (SSLI) program. At the time of this decision, John Matovina, Chief Executive Officer of American Equity said “We are excited to work with AFBA. With its long-standing commitment to service members and first responders, we are confident AFBA is the ideal partner as we transition our group life insurance business.”

The actual transfer of business took place on 1 January of this year. A total of 14 Guard state associations and 83 local firefighter groups, representing more than 105,000 members and their dependents joined the AFBA family at that time. General Eberhart, USAF (Ret.), Chairman and President of AFBA stated that “For more than 70 years, AFBA has been committed to serving those who serve this great nation. Our focus is on providing life insurance products and services tailored for service members and first responders. American Equity was the pathfinder in serving the Citizen Soldiers and Airmen of our nation, and we are honored to work with their National Guard and firefighter customers to provide these benefits.”

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We are excited to welcome WINGA into the AFBA / 5Star Life family

We are pleased to share with you that the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin National Guard Association (WINGA) voted to move the State Sponsored Life Insurance Program to AFBA / 5Star Life effective January 1, 2019. WINGA has created a successful stand-alone program with nearly 6,000 insureds.

We are committed to a successful partnership helping to improve the existing program and, over time, providing increased protection and value to WINGA members and families. Our goal will be to make the transition as seamless as possible for the WINGA members.

We are proud that WINGA recognized our joint commitment to serving and promoting the welfare of their members. As the leading provider in the National Guard market, the addition of WINGA increases the roster of state and territory associations served by AFBA/5Star Life to 53 out of 54 total associations.

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Personal Cyber Security Tips

Over the last couple of years, we have provided articles and videos on cyber security to help our members stay safe online.

Even with all the reports in the news on security breaches in many companies, the top 3 passwords still used are 123456, 12345 and “password.” While there are no guarantees that malicious actors won’t get your information, the following tips will decrease the probability of getting your personal information hacked. So, let’s do some password maintenance!

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1. Have Complicated, Unique, Difficult-To-Crack Passwords
Hate changing your passwords for your social media, online banking, Amazon.com and other online accounts? We all do.
A good solution to create strong passwords (and track them at the same time) is to sign up for a password storage tool. Some are free while some have a nominal fee.
All you need to do, once you have such a tool, is to create one very complex password and remember it. Then you can let the tool auto-generate all your other long and tricky passwords, which you won’t need to remember.

2. Never Reuse a Password
Don’t use the same password or slightly modify it to use it on multiple accounts. Make each password unique, with a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, special characters – at least ten characters, ideally more.

3. Update Your Passwords Regularly
Change your passwords periodically (at least every 6-12 months).

4. Prevent “Dictionary Attacks”
Don’t use dictionary words, your pet’s name, your college or any other words that have an obvious correlation to you as a person.

5. Don’t Store Passwords in Your Browser
It seems convenient, but hackers feel the same way. Browser attacks are very common. The most common browser attack is the Malicious URL. This is where the website you are going to contains an exploit that can compromise your system and collect those stored passwords. Also, never write down passwords or share them with others.

6. Never Leave any Level of Entry Unprotected
Have (unique) passwords on your firewall, your WiFi network, your computer, your phone, your tablet, etc.

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Summer Safety Tips

Summer is here, and we want you to stay safe during these hot months! Always keep safety in mind whether you’re traveling, spending time outdoors, or spending a low-key weekend at home. Below are some tips from webmd.com and the National Safety Council. Read through them to ensure you have the knowledge needed to protect yourself and your loved ones from injuries so you can continue to stay healthy, happy, and active. Have a great summer!

1. Make Yourself Unattractive
To insects, that is. Scented soaps, perfumes, and hairsprays can attract mosquitoes and other biting bugs. Use bug spray with DEET (not for infants under two months old.)

2. Use the 20-Minute Rule
Drink water at least every 20 minutes to prevent heat stress and heat stroke. If you’re going to be outside for more than an hour or exercising strenuously, you should add a sports drink to replenish electrolytes.

3. Play It Safe
Inspect playground equipment for rotten wood or plastic with sharp edges. Make sure the slides and other surfaces are cool enough to be comfortable.

4. Leave Fireworks to the Experts
More fires are reported on July 4 than any other day of the year. The National Safety Council advises everyone to stay away from all consumer fireworks and to only enjoy fireworks at a public display conducted by professionals.

5. Swimming Safety
Don’t go in the water unless you know how to swim. Never swim alone. Never drink alcohol when swimming.

6. Boating Safety
Life jackets are essential to safe boating. In addition, the Coast Guard recommends all boat operators take a safety course to learn the rules of the waterway.

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AFBA Video and Newsroom

Last year we launched a new video featuring AFBA Chairman and President, General Eberhart, and 5Star Life’s CEO and President, Mark Singleton, covering our history and markets. Click below to watch it.

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We also debuted our redesigned Newsroom at newsroom.afba.com. Here you will find articles on timely topics that relate to each of our markets.

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Follow Us On Social Media

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Do you follow AFBA on Facebook and Twitter? If not, you’re missing out on interesting articles, videos, and infographics on a variety of topics. We focus on matters relevant to our members, particularly, veterans and first responders, but there are also general-interest posts on resume writing and life insurance education.
Friend us, connect with us, follow us!

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Go Green!

 width=Paperless Billing Benefits

Using the online services of AFBA’s website for paperless bill viewing and electronic bill payment not only has environmental benefits, it will also save you money on postage and provides round the clock access to your billing status. To sign up, log in to your account at afba.com and update your profile or call us at 1-800-776-2322.

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Financial Planning & Benefits Guide

 width=One of our more popular member benefits is our annual Financial Planning Guide (FPG) covering important financial topics for all stages of life. This valuable resource includes information on:

  • Basic Principles of Financial Planning
  • Military Pay, Allowances, and Retirement Benefits
  • Social Security and Medicare
  • Veterans and Survivor Benefits
  • Federal Civilian Employee Benefits

Please Note: Starting next year, we will no longer print the FPG and instead offer an enhanced digital version. It will have all the updated, valuable information you have come to expect in an easy-to-navigate format.

You can download the guide (in PDF form) or request to have a copy mailed to you by clicking here.

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Member Benefits and Services

Charles C. Blanton AFBA Family Survivor College Scholarship

Members can ensure the future well-being of their families in the event of an untimely death with our Survivor Scholarship. It provides up to $10,000 per family, per year for a maximum benefit of $40,000 for undergraduate tuition and fees. The surviving spouse or children of members killed in combat, as a result of an act of terrorism, or First Responders at the scene of an incident are eligible. (Not available in Virginia.)

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Is Your Financial Plan Compromised? Long Term Care Insurance Could Help

The need for extended care can compromise a comfortable retirement as such care is not covered by Medicare, TRICARE, or your medical insurance.

Having a strategy in place to help pay for this care can help ensure access to the type and quality of care you need and deserve.

There are new insurance options that guarantee your rate, provide a death benefit if you do not need care, and can even provide lifetime benefits.

The AFBA Long Term Care Insurance Program can help you understand if one of these new options are right for you.

Call 1-855-581-6647 or visit www.getltci.com/afba for more information.

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Special Discounts for AFBA Members from GEICO

Save even more on insurance from GEICO! width=

  • Savings for multi-car policies, good student, safety features, and more.
  • 24/7 support, online or by phone, for claims bill paying, policy changes, and more.
  • Great policy rates for renters, motorcycles, and much more.
  • Storage protection plans with reduced premiums.
  • More than 75 years of service to the military.

Get a free quote: https://www.geico.com/mil/afba or call 1-800- 368-2734.

Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. GEICO contracts with various membership entities and other organizations, but these entities do not underwrite the offered insurance products. Discount amount varies in some states. One group discount applicable per policy. Coverage is individual. In New York a premium reduction may be available. GEICO may not be involved in a formal relationship with each organization; however, you still may qualify for a special discount based on your membership, employment or affiliation with those organizations. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2018 GEICO

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Emergency Assistance Plus Provides a Crucial Safety Net

 width=Any time you have an accident or sudden illness while traveling away from home, Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+), made available through AFBA, provides a crucial safety net that helps pay for emergency medical transportation expenses your health or travel insurance generally will NOT cover. With more than 20 assistance benefits, EA+ steps in to provide Medical Evacuation, Medical Assistance, Travel Assistance, and Assistance for Companions.

Read the testimonial below from a member to see EA+ in action:

“My wife Laura and I flew to Branson, Missouri to enjoy some world-class music. Our trip was cut short when Laura became ill and needed medical assistance. Unfamiliar with the area, I called EA+ and they helped me locate a hospital nearby where Laura received care for the next two days. Because of my wife’s condition, I knew we wouldn’t be able to continue our trip. EA+ made arrangements to fly us back home to Idaho. EA+ even upgraded Laura’s seat due to her condition and insisted I join her to monitor her medical state. We cannot express our thanks and appreciation for all that was done to make such a frightening situation, tolerable, calming and comforting.”

-Greg J.

For more information, visit www.emergencyassistanceplus.com/afba or call toll free 1-855-352-3032.

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Discounted, Convenient Health Screenings Offered to AFBA Members

As an AFBA member, you can receive a discount off of a package of four important preventive health screenings through our partnership with Life Line Screening. It is proactive and smart to take care of your cardiovascular health and stay healthy and active. AFBA and Life Line Screening have partnered since 2010.

Life Line Screening data shows that seventy percent of people aged fifty-five and older have at least two risk factors for cardiovascular disease and may not even know it.

By special arrangement, you can get four screenings for only $129:

  • Carotid Artery/Stroke
  • Abdominal Aorta
  • Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease

Other screenings are available as well at an additional cost, including”

  • HDL and LDL Cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes risk
  • Bone density as a risk for possible osteoporosis
  • Kidney and thyroid function, and more

The package of four screenings is discounted for our members, so take advantage of this important preventive health program today. If other screenings are recommended for you based on your age and risk factors, consultants will work with you to create a package that is right for you.

Call 1-866-895-3365 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/afba.

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AFBA TRICARE Supplement Insurance Plan: A Better Option

Here are some important facts about a TRICARE Supplement plan to help you make an informed decision about your healthcare.

FACT 1: More options. TRICARE Supplement is available to TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries who are entitled to retired, retainer or equivalent pay and who are under 65 or are ineligible for Medicare.

FACT 2: Costs are more predictable. With TRICARE Supplement, you pay an additional premium and annual deductible. In exchange, TRICARE Supplement covers your other out-of-pocket expenses. If you have come close to reaching your out-of-pocket limit with TRICARE Select, you can save money with a supplement and better anticipate your recurring costs.

FACT 3: Covers your family. TRICARE Supplement is a great option for retired military personnel, but it’s also a great option for their spouses and children.
Family members can maintain coverage even after the primary military person has aged into Medicare and is no longer eligible for TRICARE Supplement.

FACT 4: Help you keep your doctor. With TRICARE Select only, you would pay more for visits to non-network providers. With TRICARE Supplement, your out-of-pocket costs are covered, and there’s no distinction between network and non-network providers.

FACT 5: Pre-existing conditions are covered after six months. For the first six months of coverage, treatment for pre-existing conditions will not be covered. However, once the seventh month of coverage begins, this limitation expires and pre-existing conditions are covered from this point on.

Learn more! Call 1-800-638-2610 or visit www.afba-tricare.com.

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