Zoe, my four year-old daughter, is often asked "How
old are you?" Recently, when she is asked this question, she says
her age, and then asks, "And how old are you?"
The reaction she receives is pretty funny, but it's a fair question
in her mind.
Every year I field a lot of fair questions about the GeoCare Insurance
Program. This program has been a premier benefit for AAPG. As a
result, AAPG has been joined in this program by SPE, SEG, SEPM,
AAPL, AIPG, EEGS, GSW (Geological Society of Washington) and most
recently AEG (Association of Engineering Geologists).
The program is divided into two parts -- GeoCare Benefits for
residents of the United States and Canada, and GeoCare International
for residents throughout the rest of the world.
In January, I attended the midyear Insurance Committee meeting,
which is composed of representatives from the participating societies.
The committee meets twice a year to discuss and review service,
rates and programs. We also review any problems reported by members.
There are many types of insurance in GeoCare (see
chart). AAPG's GeoCare Benefits term life insurance program
is the most popular, with over 8,000 certificates. AAPG now has
a "twice life" (first-to-die) term insurance program, which allows
insurance on the life of both spouses with the same insurance. Also,
the committee just approved a new 10-year term life insurance program
that is very affordable.
AAPG offers two association primary medical programs -- Comprehensive
HealthCare and a Medical Savings Account Plan. GeoCare Benefits
medical programs are guaranteed issue for members under 65 and their
families residing in most states. The Medical Savings Account is
a good way to pay for many out-of-pocket medical expenses using
The GeoCare International Program offers a variety of plans, including
healthcare insurance for members working outside of the United States
and Canada who meet certain criteria. This is one of our best new
programs and is very affordable.
It is also, however, very under-used by members.
Disability is just as important as term life insurance, because
it's more likely that you will use it. I am not suggesting disability
is "more likely" than death, but it is three to four times more
likely you will use disability than life insurance before the age
Two growth areas are dental insurance and long-term care insurance.
The dental insurance is a good value and can be added to existing
health care programs. I am in the process of evaluating long-term
care for my mother, and it is clear that this is the type of insurance
that, though often ignored, is critical for future needs and will
become even more important as the "boomer" generation ages.
During the meeting we always discuss problems and solutions. Nationwide,
insurance costs are skyrocketing due to increases in healthcare
costs and claims. In addition, by law, the GeoCare Benefits medical
insurance is guaranteed to all members under age 65 in most states
regardless of health history -- and, like it or not, this produces
some large claims.
As a result, the Insurance Committee is doing everything possible
to keep rates down on the entire program, but especially on medical
Nevertheless, insurance premiums continue to move upward for the
GeoCare healthcare programs, just like they are for most other healthcare
programs in the United States.
Naturally, when rates go up, we are questioned and challenged
as to the reasons for the increases.
These are fair questions, and we understand the concern. Many
of us are or were consultants and know the effect of additional
expense on the bottom-line when trying to make "ends meet."
The primary reasons GeoCare rates have been moving upward is due
to claims experience coupled with the growing overall cost of health
care. We feel it is a good service to be able to offer AAPG members
healthcare coverage that is not always available or affordable to
the general public.
We hope that the nationwide insurance situation improves, along
with an improving economy and better claims experience.
The Insurance Committee and its industry representatives are constantly
looking for alternatives to provide the best value in insurance
for AAPG and our sister society members.