AFLAC - Cancer Insurance for UFA Members and their Families

The job of the UFA Insurance Committee is to continually seek improvements in both the costs and types of coverage for the membership. This mandate has led us to change our group insurance carrier twice in the last few years, securing both a competitive rate and program enhancements for our active and retired members.

With respect to insurance coverage, we have researched and reviewed many different types of policies that could be beneficial or helpful to firefighters. Principally among these is the Wohler‘s Catastrophic insurance that is carried by many of our members. Wohler's provides extra protection for our members in the event they or a family member suffers a devastating nonjob-related injury or illness.

One other type of program that we've been interested in for some time is coverage for persons who develop cancer. Our interest in cancer insurance is an outgrowth of research commissioned by the UFA which produced the Cancer Bill, research that documented the higher-than-average incidence of cancer among our active and retired members. Due to the fact that our health plans cover virtually all medical costs associated with cancer, we sought a different insurance product that would help alleviate some of the other financial burdens that can weigh on a family when someone is diagnosed with cancer.

AFLAC Program
Thus, we recently concluded an agreement with the insurance company AFLAC on a program whereby cash payments are rendered for those covered, in the event they develop an internal cancer. This program, AFLAC New York's "Personal Lifestyle Protector Cancer Plan," was only recently approved for sale in the state of New York, and we are pleased to have tailored a product that we feel offers Significant coverage for our members.

AFLAC is a triple-A rated company that has specialized in cancer insurance in the U.S. and abroad for over 40 years, and has demonstrated their commitment to our union with a very generous donation of $20,000 to our Widows and Children's fund. They are uniquely qualified to provide this special insurance to us.

Fighting Cancer is Expensive
How often have we all contributed to firehouse fundraisers for one of our stricken brothers or sisters? Many members have had to spend their life savings to pay for all of the nonmedical costs of fighting cancer. When you are fighting cancer and can't work, how do you replace the money you are losing from not being able to work overtime or your second job? If you are like most of us, you are totally dependent upon that extra income to maintain the standard of living that you now have. What about the money that's lost when a working spouse gets cancer? How will you pay the extra costs of child care help, travel, food and lodging along with all of the regular monthly bills (mortgage, rent, phone, car payments, tuition, etc.) without their income? AFLAC's plan can help ease these financial burdens for you.

Nobody is immune from cancer. The latest American Cancer Society statistics say that 1 out of 2 males and 1 out of 3 females will develop cancer during their lifetime. AFLAC'S plan covers you for your entire lifetime. It never expires, as long as premiums are paid when due. Remember, this is not another health insurance plan. It doesn't pay your medical bills-it pays you! Here's how it works: AFLAC pays you $1,500 as soon as you or a covered family member gets cancer. From that point on, generous cash benefits are paid for most treatments received during your struggle to get well: $200 /day for the first 30 days in a hospital, increasing to $400/day from the 31st day on; $190/ day for radiation and chemotherapy, $100/day for nursing services, and many other cash benefits. Several pages of comprehensive benefits are outlined in AFLAC'S brochure, which has been sent to each member's home.

Early Detection Saves Lives
AFLAC pays a special benefit once a year to any member that gets a cancer screening test. For your convenience, we have included a cancer screening as part of the Med Mobile test, so any member in the plan who takes the medmobile test will get a check from AFLAC for $40. The benefit also applies to all spouses and covered children that get a cancer screening from their doctor. In addition to being a smart thing to do, it can make an already inexpensive plan even more affordable.

You may be wondering how much does all of this cost? The individual plan will be $6.51 biweekly, or 46 cents per day. The spouse and children family plan will be $10.11 bi-weekly, or 72 cents per day. The net costs are much lower when you get an annual cancer screening test and get the $40 (per screened member) from AFLAC. Best of all, premiums are paid through payroll deduction (with an .11 cents per month, or $1.32 per year fee to cover the city's administrative costs for payroll deduction).

You can even keep the plan after you retire at the same rates. All active members and retirees should have received their packet in the mail at home. Further discussion of the plan will take place at the Delegate Seminar in April.