Chairman − President’s Message
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.
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.
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.
Ralph E. “Ed” Eberhart
General, USAF (Ret.)
Chairman − President
- Vote for your Board of Directors
- Annual Members Meeting
- Endorsement — Redomestication of Statutory Office
- We stand with the Puerto Rico National Guard
- AFBA Welcomes New National Guard State Associations and Local Firefighter Groups
- We are excited to welcome WINGA into the AFBA / 5Star Life family
- Personal Cyber Security Tips
- Summer Safety Tips
- AFBA Video and Newsroom
- Follow Us On Social Media
- Go Green!
- Financial Planning & Benefits Guide
- AFBA Scholarship
- Long Term Care
- Auto Insurance
- Emergency Travel Assistance
- Life Line Screening
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.
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].
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Friend us, connect with us, follow us!
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.
Financial Planning & Benefits Guide
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.
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.)
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.
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
Emergency Assistance Plus Provides a Crucial Safety Net
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.”
For more information, visit www.emergencyassistanceplus.com/afba or call toll free 1-855-352-3032.
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.
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.