February 24, 2006, Newsletter Issue #5: Military Benefit Associations

Tip of the Week

Military people sometimes look beyond their military benefits such as health care and life insurance; some people just want that extra bit of reassurance that a supplemental policy can bring. Military benefit associations are there to provide these services and more. Some offer TRICARE supplement programs and medicare supplements. Others do all this and offer credit card services, lobbyist representation and more.

The real question to ask before you join one of these associations is the most basic. "Do I really need this extra coverage?" For some military families, the answer will be no. Those with no major health issues in the family are probably better off saving the money for a rainy day. If you, your spouse or children have special medical needs or ongoing treatment issues, a military benefit association may well be worth the investment.

For retirees, membership is definitely something to consider thanks to options such as Medicare supplements and cancer expense plans. One word of caution with regard to life insurance for active duty members--carefully research any plan you may consider above your Servicemembers Group Life Insurance plan. If you carry the maxiumum $250,000 payout in the event of your death, you may wind up deciding against the extra coverage offered by a military benefit association. If you don't understand the differences between "term life" and "whole life" insurance programs, do your homework before signing up for any additional insurance--you'll be glad you did. For those with SGLI, some additional insurance plans aren't as neccesary--or beneficial to your family--as you might think.

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