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From the CEO

Welcome to May 2020! Although effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to evolve and bring change, the American Foreign Service Protective Association (AFSPA) strives to offer consistency and stability.

Coronavirus Updates

Since my April CEO Message, the Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) has taken even more measures to elevate your care.

  • vHealth – Our overseas members now may meet with medical providers virtually by using a mobile device. You can receive preventive care, doctor referrals, medical prescriptions, etc. This option is currently available until December 31, 2020, but we are working with OPM to include it in our 2021 standard benefit package. Click here to learn more.
  • COVID-19 Testing – Specific proteins in blood called antibodies are present in individuals whose immune systems created a defense against coronavirus. Some authorities predict that understanding these antibodies will aid the world on its path back to “normalcy.” To assist, FSBP is covering all physician-ordered, FDA-approved testing for coronavirus/covid-19 at 100% for US-based members.  For members overseas, FSBP will cover the locally approved test at 100%. This coverage includes testing for antibodies and for active infections.
  • Other Helpful COVID-19 Resources:

May – High Blood Pressure Awareness Month

About nine out of 10 Americans will develop high blood pressure in their lifetimes. High blood pressure – or hypertension as it is also called – can lead to stroke, vision loss, and heart and kidney diseases.

Every year, National Blood Pressure Month (May) and World Hypertension Day (May 17) increase awareness of and educate the public about managing hypertension.

If you have high blood pressure, see your doctor regularly. A provider can help you set goals, discuss treatments, and check for complications. Because tension or anxiety can raise your blood pressure, if it is greater than 140/90 during a medical visit, ask your doctor to recheck it a few minutes later. For a more accurate reading, relax and take deep breaths.

FSBP can help.

Regularly monitoring your blood pressure, with support from FSBP and your health care team, can help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

May – Mental Health Awareness Month

Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with mental illness. However, most Americans do not seek treatment. Social stigmas and lack of access to mental health professionals may be main contributing factors to this.

Mental Health Awareness Month encourages affected people to work toward strategies for attaining mental wellness and highlights mental health resources. For instance, did you know disability insurance can provide some income if you become unable to work because of a mental illness?

AFSPA committed to highlighting information like this when it chose Mental Wellness Leads to Better Physical Health as its 2020 theme. Please take a moment to check out the provided links to learn more about what we are doing to help.

On May 25, we will celebrate Memorial Day. The world’s challenging times may not allow for our usual cookouts and family gatherings; however, we can acknowledge the brave men and women who have served our country. This year, I am sure you will join us in also thanking our first responders, teachers, health care workers, and all those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.

AFSPA remains committed to providing unparalleled service. Thank you for your loyalty 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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