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From the CEO - September 2022

Dear AFSPA Member, 

As the warm summer season dwindles away and the feeling of cool temperatures arrive, we tend to start crawling into our caves, indulging ourselves in delicious comfort food, and exercising less. But be mindful that this behavior of eating more and exercising less can contribute to higher cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Here are some healthier fall recipe options that are perfect for colder weather. 

Cholesterol Education Month 

High blood pressure and high cholesterol, on their own, are serious risk factors for heart disease and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one-half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, but only half of these have their blood pressure treated appropriately. Two-thirds of U.S. adults have high cholesterol, and of these only one-third have it appropriately treated. I encourage you to read this article featured in our 2022 AFSPA In Action Summer newsletter about lifestyle changes and programs offered to members enrolled in the Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) to help manage, and in many cases, lower your high blood pressure and high cholesterol numbers. Participating in some of these healthy action programs can even earn you wellness rewards! 

Pain Awareness Month 

According to the CDC, there are approximately 50 million U.S. adults living with chronic pain. I want to remind our members enrolled in FSBP that you have access to pain management programs to help address your pain before it starts to affect your quality of life. For instance, the HingeHealth program has helped thousands of people cut their pain by over 60 percent. The Pain Management Program, under the Care Management Program, aids with psychological effects of chronic pain, reduction of opioid use, avoiding opioid use, and provides resources for those who are dependent on opioid medications. 

Life insurance Awareness Month 

If there is one thing we have learned through the pandemic, it’s that life is fragile and it’s important to prepare for the unexpected. This month is a great reminder to include life insurance in your financial plans. Begin by asking yourself how the people in your life would manage financially if you were suddenly gone.  

Explore AFSPA’s comprehensive life insurance options. Our life plans help ensure your family will have the resources they need to carry on – from caregiving expenses if you become chronically ill, to pay–outs to cover funeral costs, outstanding bills, and ongoing living expenses in the event of your death. Best of all, you can enroll in any of our life plans at any time without having to wait for a special enrollment period. To learn more, attend our Life Insurance Awareness Month webinar on September 28th at noon EST. 

Infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) 

For many years, FSBP has offered coverage for the diagnosis of infertility as well as certain forms of treatment. We expanded coverage in 2022 to cover iatrogenic fertility preservation procedures. However, the Plan does not currently offer coverage for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures.  

FSBP has continued to look at our infertility benefits for many years, including a review of what commercial insurance plans offer. We found when they include ART coverage, there typically is an annual and/or lifetime maximum. In addition, OPM’s resistance was also an item of consideration when determining ART coverage in the past. But in its guidance for 2023 benefit proposals, OPM indicated, for the first time, an openness to plans proposing ways “to assist with the financial burden of ART treatment.” FSBP always has tried to be innovative and forward-thinking for members’ needs and this year is no exception. While we cannot confirm or release information on any 2023 benefits before OPM approves release, we will provide more information as soon as we are allowed.   

Stay Connected 

Last month, our AFSPA Talks podcast focused on children’s health care: from newborn children’s health to recommended immunizations & mental and social health in children. If you missed any of the conversation, you can catch up on all podcast episodes at afspa.org/podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss any future episodes!  

This month, our podcast theme will focus on Life Insurance Awareness Month and Financial Protection. We’ll be talking about all types of life insurances, critical illness, disability, financial wellness, retirement planning, and more so stay tuned.  

On September 29th at 11:00am ET, we will be hosting an AFSPA Live Q&A Session with COO, Kyle Longton to answer any of your follow up questions about this month’s episodes. You can join the live Q&A session on our Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube pages.  

Lastly, I would like to extend an invitation to attend “Planning for Change,” a free educational event about retirement and aging hosted by the Senior Living Foundation (SLF), a non-profit organization sponsored by AFSPA. SLF provides support to retired Foreign Service personnel and their spouses, as well as parents of active Foreign Service personnel. To register and learn more about this free event, click here 

As always, thank you for your trust and for giving AFSPA the opportunity to serve you!  

To Your Health, 

Paula S. Jakub, RHU
CEO, AFSPA
Executive Director, Senior Living Foundation

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