Issue Date: August 7, 2006
ACS Member Insurance: 40 Years Strong
The ACS Member Insurance Program is proud of its 40-year history. From its inception in 1966 with the term life plan, the program has grown to include 12 insurance and supplemental retirement plans. Covering basic needs such as life, professional liability, auto, and homeowners insurance, the plans help members reach their long-term professional and financial goals.
With 40 years of continued success, the program has proven to be a reliable and valuable member benefit. Not content to rest on its laurels, however, the board of trustees is continually searching for ways to enhance the program's portfolio of insurance plans and financial services. This year, we're pleased to announce three new offerings: a health insurance brokerage service; an inflation guard option for the term life plan; and "360 Degrees of Financial Literacy," a compendium of financial information.
For some time, my board colleagues and I have been concerned that the number of uninsured chemists may be growing. Many Americans, including members of the American Chemical Society and their families, obtain health insurance through their employers. However, as the industry continues to restructure and as premium costs increase, fewer employers are offering this benefit; even when they do, employee costs continue to rise.
As you may know, health insurance is regulated by states, and nationwide association plans are virtually nonexistent. In the face of this perplexing climate, we are particularly pleased to announce that we are responding to member needs and requests with a health insurance brokerage service. Offering information on hundreds of plan designs, this service offers access to licensed insurance agents who will assist members in finding the best plans for them. Customized for geographic locations and individual needs, plan choices are presented in a side-by-side comparison to allow easy cost-benefit analysis. Options include preferred-provider organizations, health savings accounts, traditional indemnity plans, wellness benefits, and prescription drug coverage−all offered by insurance carriers who are rated A or better by AM Best, an independent insurance-rating agency. With this new service, members can save time and money, and they will have personalized and individualized attention to address their needs.
Another ongoing trustee concern is the impact of inflation on members' financial resources. We are continually monitoring the usefulness and value of the various insurance plans offered to members. In 2005, New York Life Insurance Co. (NYL) assumed responsibility for underwriting the life, disability income, hospital indemnity, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance plans.
With this new partnership, we introduced 10- and 20-year term life plans to complement the traditional annually renewable term life plan, and coverage limits were raised to $2 million for all the life plans. This year, working with NYL, we are offering members an innovative way to ensure that their insurance coverage keeps pace with inflation and their growing financial needs.
Members who have term life insurance through the Member Insurance Program can now add the new inflation guard option to their policy. An exceedingly valuable provision, particularly in today's volatile economic climate, this feature gradually increases coverage amounts automatically by 10% each year for 10 years, to double the original coverage.
To participate, insured members must accept the option before they reach age 55 and cannot be totally disabled. Once protected by inflation guard, insured members, regardless of their health, need not reapply or requalify.
Rounding out our list of new offerings is one additional member benefit. In keeping with our mission "to provide insurance and other kinds of financial security programs for the benefit of the members of the ACS," we are collaborating with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to offer an exceptional financial tool: "360 Degrees of Financial Literacy."
A national effort of the CPA profession, this self-help website offers information that people need at each stage of their lives, from childhood to retirement. For example, members can contact qualified CPAs and CPA personal financial specialists via the "Ask the Money Doctor" feature to discuss individual financial planning issues. Members also can access interactive financial tools, such as a savings calculator, personal cash flow worksheet, and a consolidation loan investment calculator.
This unique educational and financial benefit is available on the ACS Member Insurance Program website at chemistry.org/insurance. We wish to thank AICPA for graciously offering its expertise in financial matters to ACS members.
To learn more about these new offerings or any other aspect of the Member Insurance Program, please visit our website or contact Jean Parr, secretary to the board of trustees, at ACS headquarters; phone (800) 227-5558 ext. 8911 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, on behalf of the entire board of trustees, I'd like to thank all the ACS members for their support and continued participation in the Member Insurance Program. We strive to provide quality insurance plans and financial services to respond to members' needs. We want to hear from you. Remember: We are the Board of Trustees, Group Insurance Plans for ACS Members, your colleagues working for you.
Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.
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