News

AAOS Introduces Member Advantage Program

By: Jackie Ryan, MPA

New benefit offers access to life, disability, and long-term care insurance

Jackie Ryan, MPA

In 2008, then AAOS First Vice-President Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, predicted a time when the AAOS would offer an affinity program for members “to provide options for reduced-rate life insurance and disability insurance.” Now, after extensive research and evaluation of various affinity programs, brokers, policies, and insurers, that prediction has become a reality.

At its September 2011 meeting, the Board of Directors of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons approved a proposal by the Practice Management Committee to offer a member insurance program for term life, disability income, and long-term care insurance. The Member Insurance Program—just one aspect of the AAOS Member Advantage Program—makes its debut at the 2012 AAOS Annual Meeting.

The program was made possible through partnerships with some of the most prestigious and well-respected companies in their respective industries. It includes programs and services that have been specially negotiated for Academy members.

“The AAOS personal insurance program is designed to help members access disability insurance, life insurance, or long-term care insurance at very competitive rates,” said Thomas J. Grogan, MD, chair of the Practice Management Committee. “Although AAOS members may currently participate in these insurance programs, the AAOS Member Advantage Program provides the opportunity to purchase additional insurance to expand coverage beyond existing limitations.” 

The AAOS Member Insurance Program
The AAOS selected Pearl Insurance to act as the administrator and exclusive sponsor of the AAOS Member Insurance Program. Pearl Insurance is one of the Pearl Companies (Peoria Heights, Ill.), a nationally recognized broker well-known for its administrative capabilities, industry connections, and commitment to service. By partnering with Pearl Insurance, the AAOS Member Insurance Program helps ensure that members will have access to coverage they can rely on for years to come.

Initially, three programs will be available: 10-year term life coverage, individual disability income insurance with a definition of disability designed exclusively for orthopaedic surgeons, and long-term care insurance. Each program is underwritten by leading insurance companies and offers benefits suitable for the lifestyles of AAOS members.

Term life insurance
According to the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association 2010 Life Insurance Ownership Study, nearly one third of U.S. households with incomes of more than $100,000 admit that they do not have enough life insurance coverage. For orthopaedic surgeons, whose incomes may substantially exceed that amount, high-limit, affordable coverage may be especially needed. The AAOS Member Insurance Program can provide up to $1 million in term life protection. According to Dr. Grogan, this program offers members an opportunity to obtain additional term life insurance, even if they already have coverage with another insurer.

Underwritten by the Prudential Insurance Company of America (Newark, N.J.), this is an ideal choice for AAOS members and their families because it offers locked-in, competitive rates and benefits that are guaranteed never to change for the full 10-year period.

Members may also insure their spouses and children under the program.

Individual disability income insurance
Disability income insurance protects an individual’s most valuable financial asset—the ability to work and earn an income. But a study conducted in 2007 by the Council for Disability Awareness found that most Americans underestimate the risk of sustaining a disability that would keep them out of work for
3 months or longer.

The AAOS Member Insurance Program disability income coverage is not cancelable, with guaranteed premium rates to age 65. Most importantly, the definition of disability is “the inability of the individual to perform orthopaedic surgery.” This “own occupation” definition is more specific than most policies, which might define disability as “the inability to perform the practice of medicine.” Underwritten by The Principal Financial Group®, this coverage can be used as a stand-alone policy or in conjunction with an employer’s disability policy.

Long-term care insurance
More than half of all Americans will spend part of their life in a long-term care facility. Typically, these facilities are expensive—costs can often exceed $100,000 per year. Rather than deplete personal resources, members may offset some of these costs through long-term care insurance.

This program offers a portfolio of comprehensive plans from several highly rated insurance carriers. Pearl’s partnership with Long-Term Care Resources means that a national network of long-term care specialists is available to AAOS members to explain the features, costs, and benefits of the program.

The AAOS Long Term Care Insurance Program offers individualized programs for each member (including coverage for spouse and children). Because each AAOS member has different needs, this program provides access to top-rated insurance companies, ensuring that a wide range of coverages are available. Members can choose the plan that has the features and the rate they need. More importantly, special discounted rates available to AAOS members can result in savings of thousands of dollars over the life of a policy.

Watch for more member benefits
The AAOS Member Insurance Program is just one aspect of the AAOS Member Advantage Program—practical, money-saving solutions for personal and professional stability. “The Practice Management Committee is continuing to evaluate additional options for the Member Advantage Program, all designed to help members reduce practice costs and personal expenses,” said Dr. Grogan.

For complete information on all the benefits available to members—from discounts on medical, surgical, and front-office supplies to personal and financial protection—visit the Member Advantage kiosk, located in Academy Hall, Moscone West Level 1, or go online to www.aaos.org/advantage

Jackie Ryan, MPA, is manager of the AAOS practice management group. She can be reached at ryan@aaos.org

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