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From the CEO

Welcome to Summer 2019! By now, you should have received your Spring AFSPA in Action Newsletter in your mailbox. For Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) members, it highlights your online Member Engagement tools. Plus, you can learn tips and advice directly from AFSPA staff. The AFSPA Listens column answers our most-asked member questions. Lastly, this newsletter officially begins our year-long celebration of AFSPA’s 90th Anniversary. Please read your Spring Newsletter, as many of the topics address your common concerns.

FSBP’s 24/7 Nurse Advice Line

I want to focus on a somewhat underutilized FSBP benefit – the 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line. Whether you live in the U.S. or overseas, our Health Plan members can speak live to a registered nurse about any medical topic or health concern. As of this year, only a small percentage of members have taken advantage of this 24/7 service. Those who did call in 2019 have asked for advice on visiting an Emergency Room versus an Urgent Care Center. And, several others received self-care guidance and medication information. Some nurses even called to follow-up with members, when the nurse deemed it necessary. This help line allows you to clarify your doctor’s instructions or seek medical advice in the middle of the night. Utilize this FSBP benefit any time by calling 855-482-5750 or 704-834-6782. TDD services are available for the hearing and speech impaired. We also translate foreign languages, if needed.

June is Men’s Health Month

Men’s Health Month heightens the awareness of preventable health problems among men and boys. It encourages early detection and treatment of diseases that affect males.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Women are more likely to visit a doctor for annual exams and preventive services than men.
  • For 9 of the top 10 causes of death, men die at higher rates than women.
  • In 1920, women lived an average of one year longer than men. Now men die almost five years earlier than women.
  • Depression in men often goes undiagnosed. Men are 4x more likely to commit suicide than women.

I encourage men to get a routine physical exam and appropriate screenings (colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, etc.). FSBP pays 100% for preventive care when providers are in-network or outside the U.S. If you need help coping with stress, consider using FSBP’s many support programs. Health CoachingmyStrength™ online mental health support, AbleTo online treatment support, and Telehealth Consultations are all available to you at no cost.

Travel Insurance

Summertime usually means visiting family or taking a much-needed vacation. If you are traveling this season, or if family is visiting you, internationally or domestically, consider purchasing travel insurance. An article on page 2 of the 2019 Spring Newsletter shares helpful travel tips and information on AFSPA’s Travel Insurance.

Our plan offers:

  • Referrals to physicians and hospitals
  • Payment of medical claims
  • Emergency evacuation and more

AFSPA’s Travel Insurance can be important for family members visiting you overseas, if their health insurance does not cover services outside the U.S. (like Medicare).

I hope you and your family enjoy a safe, healthy, and fun-filled summer. We will do our part in delivering the level of service you expect. As always, thank you for your trust and for giving AFSPA the opportunity to serve you.

To Your Health,
Paula S. Jakub, RHU
Executive Director, Senior Living Foundation

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