Chairman − President’s Message
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.
Ralph E. “Ed” Eberhart
General, USAF (Ret.)
Chairman − President
- General Abrams Tribute
- 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day
- Response to Hurricanes Florence and Michael
- New National Guard Office
- Welcome to our New Senior VP of Operations
- Suicide Awareness and Prevention
- Safe Shopping Tips
- Follow Us On Social Media
- Member’s Corner
- AFBA Scholarship
- Long Term Care
- GEICO Auto Insurance
- Emergency Travel Assistance
- Life Line Screening
- PenFed’s Car Buying Service
Click here to read General Abrams’ obituary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Follow Us On Social Media
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!
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.
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.)
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.
Special Discounts for AFBA Members from GEICO
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
Take Care of You and Your Family with Emergency Assistance Plus® (EA+®)
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.
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.
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.
TRICARE Supplement Insurance Plan
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.
- 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
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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