Behind Those New Wizard of Oz Benefits

Feb 8, 2011

Roger and De in the Land of Oz

Roger and De in the Land of Oz

This past week, both the NFL and the NFLPA managed to announce two more new programs for retired players. Let’s start with the NFLPA’s “program” first:

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GotProHealth Brings Complementary Medicine to NFL Players and their Families

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Washington, DC (PRWEB) February 8, 2011

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GotProHealth is launching a new benefit program for the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to educate current and former players and their families on the use of complementary and natural medicine. GotProHealth is also developing a national network of qualified and licensed professionals in the field of complementary medicine so that players will have access to experienced practitioners around the country. “This endeavor has tremendous potential to change the way professional athletes and their families think about getting and staying healthy,” says Amy Lewis, CEO, and licensed acupuncturist.

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Read the rest of the official NFLPA Press Announcement - click HERE.

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Note that this is ‘complementary‘ which means ‘serving to fill out or complete‘ as opposed to ‘complimentary‘ which means ‘given free as a courtesy or favor‘ (or as in, “complimentary Super Bowl tickets.’ ) The players really get nothing out of it other than a free first visit to talk about their issues. Then, I’m sure, they’re given a proposal for care – at their clinics, of course – that includes all the different kinds of treatment like chiropractic or acupuncture care available from GotProHealth.

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And maybe they might even give you a discount on services! Wonder who gets a fee from this wonderful new ‘program’?

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And if you saw the announcement last week about the new “NFL Long Term Health Insurance” announced by Commissioner Roger Goodell last week before Super Bowl XLV, you’d think that all of the retired players have finally gotten health insurance from the NFL – Whoopee! But read it all very carefully – just like that announcement from ProHealthCare and the NFLPA – and you’ll realize that’s not what they’re offering at all. Not even close.

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NFL will pay long-term care insurance premiums for alumni

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The NFL signed an agreement to pay premiums for long-term care insurance for retired players, NFL Alumni announced on its website Wednesday.

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The agreement, with Transamerica Life Insurance Company, will pay the entire premium for a pre-determined set of benefits for eligible retirees. Transamerica also will offer retirees’ spouses the opportunity to purchase a similar policy.

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“I’m excited that after years of neglect, the NFL has responded by instituting a well-deserved benefit for retired players,” NFL Alumni executive director and president George Martin said. “However, this is only a small fraction of the solutions needed to address retired player issues. I am grateful the NFL made this gesture, yet disappointed the NFLPA was not a part of this agreement.”

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Read the rest of the NFL/Alumni’s official Press Announcement – click HERE.

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What the NFL is announcing is a program put together by TransAmerica to offer you “Long Term Care Insurance” which is something that my AARP membership already offers me at very affordable rates – click HERE (a few hundred dollars a year, as opposed to actually paying me my overdue full T&P benefits of $10,000 a month! What’s there not for them to like?). What’s long-term care? Simply put, it’s something you don’t want to burden your kids with as you get progressively worse in your old age with no health insurance coverage or care. In other words, the NFL will pay for this policy (IF you qualify, of course!) and TransAmerica will then promise to pay for your nursing home or assisted living care when you can no longer take care of yourself. What is it NOT? It’s NOT Health Insurance. Which is what they’ll all too gladly inform you that it isn’t when you inquire further.

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Maybe some people will see anything as better than nothing but this kind of offering costs the NFL next-to-nothing. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise any of us if the League might even get a kickback – er, licensing fee – from TransAmerica just for saying they’re “affiliated” with the NFL and have permission to show the NFL logo on their website. It costs the NFL nothing to offer, just like the performers during the Super Bowl Half Time Show also don’t get paid for their performance. I see it as another 88 Plan: Too Little, Too Late. After you’ve destroyed someone’s family by denying them all of their benefits during their lifetime, then you offer their families a benefit that they can only qualify after they’ve proven they’re severely brain-damaged beyond any other help and they desperately need to be granted assisted care. But not a moment sooner!

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8 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Bruce Jarvis
    February 8th, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Bruce Jarvis

    Mr. Goodell,

    The latest information regarding the NFL’s providing of Long Term Care Insurance would seem on its face to be a real positive. To many of us who have a background in negotiation and actuarial finance, this event appears more ominous. Having watched as a multitude of ad hoc solutions (health cards, joint replacement plans, etc.) have been put forth in the recent past, this would appear to be yet another instance of a partial solution designed to play well for both the NFL and the NFLPA in the court of public opinion.

    The real question for older (pre-1993) players is simply: Why would men subjected to the physical risks that built the NFL NOT be entitled to benefits substantially greater than baseball or basketball? You will have as adversaries an increasingly vocal and motivated group of retired players until both of your organizations realize the most cost-effective answer is: Those men who took those risks ARE entitled to benefits substantially greater than baseball or basketball and they will be fairly structured and provided immediately.

    Nothing less will be accepted… not before this CBA or after. No matter what lower cost solutions both the NFL and the NFLPA attempt to craft, we will never agree to anything less.

    Bruce Jarvis
    Buffalo Bills
    1971-1974

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Bruce sent this out as a separate message to Roger Goodell and CC:’ed to DeMaurice Smith earlier.

  2. Ray Bracken
    February 8th, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    Hi Dave!

    I do believe all of you kind people have been given the “ICKEY Shuffle” with the contract news and I hope at this point, all of you hang in there in solidarity to get management to talk with real conviction.

    Good Luck
    Ray Bracken
    Retired UAW
    UAW

  3. Rick Sanford
    February 9th, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Rick Sanford NE Patriots

    How appropriate! How would we know that a movie around 80-90 years ago would express our situation so well. Thanks for keeping all of us informed!

    Rick Sanford
    New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks
    1979 – 1985

  4. Dave Pear
    February 9th, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    In this apt scene from The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy calls the Wizard a humbug. So just what is a humbug?

    1. something intended to delude or deceive.
    2. the quality of falseness or deception.
    3. a person who is not what he or she claims or pretends to be; impostor.
    4. something devoid of sense or meaning; nonsense: a humbug of technical jargon.

    Even the straw man who went to see the Wizard because he wanted a brain knew that the Wizard (Roger) was a humbug. Ironically, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello recently said, “All is not well in the Land of Oz!” No kidding, Greg! Too bad Dorothy’s little dog Toto pulled back the curtain to reveal who the Wizard really is.

    We need to keep pulling the curtain back on the NFL and the NFLPA to expose who they really are: “Humbugs.”

    Enough with all the phony programs already!

    Regards,
    Dave & Heidi Pear

  5. Amy Lewis
    February 9th, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Dave-

    I am so glad that you saw the news release about GotProHealth. As the CEO, I wanted to correct a few items in your blog. First, it may help to know that my husband, Ken Jenkins, President of GotProHealth, is an NFL alumnus.

    The idea for this member discount program came as a result of conversations we had with both current and former players at the NFLPA Convention last year in Maui. As I am an acupuncturist, many jokingly asked if I could treat them at the convention. They expressed concern about finding quality practitioners near their homes or in their team’s city. They also did not have a lot of information about the different types of complementary medicine available to them. Both Ken and I recognized a need and went to the NFLPA leadership to propose an idea for an educational website dedicated to providing quality and trusted information about complementary medicine. We also wanted to give them a national network so that they would have trusted practitioners for referral.

    We were thrilled that the NFLPA was so supportive and we launched this program. There is no free visit, there is no “kickback” and GotProHealth does not have clinics. Each practitioner who signs up is vetted by our staff and they voluntarily give an NFLPA discount to any member seeking treatment. It’s a great way to help players and their families get and stay healthy. Hopefully you too will take advantage of this member discount program.

    For more information, players can go to http://www.gotprohealth.com. We are currently taking practitioner applications and the official launch for the NFL players will be at the NFLPA Convention in March.

    Best,
    Amy Lewis, CEO
    GotProHealth
    GotProHealth logo

  6. RobertinSeattle
    February 9th, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Amy –

    We appreciate your comments and additional details on GotProHealth. Our post was not directed at you and your husband’s organization but more at the NFLPA and the NFL’s ongoing PR campaign to distract the public and the fans in believing that they are truly providing care and benefits to retired players.

    Unfortunately, while some of the recently retired players may still be in a position to take advantage of alternative medical techniques such as chiropractic and acupuncture to relieve their football-related aches and pains, the majority of their senior brethren cannot even afford standard health insurance let alone the medications that they need to get through a day. So while we now understand that there may even be discounts available as part of your offer, we also understand that neither the NFL nor the NFLPA are actually willing to pay for any part of these treatments, let alone acknowledge that their injuries are even football-related.

    Most of us in the real world have long recognized the direct link between the physical toll from years of playing professional football and the resulting physical and neurological damage. Yet the NFL and the Union have managed to continue denying full disability benefits to a majority of their former employees despite overwhelming evidence, while also disseminating misleading actuarial information information on the players themselves. This has left too many players not only with no disability benefits from their own employer and their Union but also left them designated with ‘Pre-existing Conditions’ which meant that they were either uninsurable or were forced to pay incredibly high premiums for coverage over their lifetime.

    While your efforts may be noble, an offer such as this will mostly go unused because most of these men neither have the funds to pay for discounted services let alone get themselves to your clinics for treatment. Since we started over 3 years ago, Dave’s Blog alone has been approached by numerous organizations and companies about offering special discounts and programs to our broad base of readers. But so far, we haven’t promoted any of them because none of them actually put real money back in their pockets. Until they finally get full access to their earned benefits, anything less would be like giving out a free Sam’s Club or Costco membership card to a homeless man.

    Sadly, the players who need care the most are also the ones who can afford it the least.

    Robert
    Publisher/Editor

  7. Amy Lewis
    February 9th, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    Robert-

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I cannot imagine the frustration that some of these players go through to fight for what should have been theirs all along. And the lasting injuries can be unbearable. I know – some of my patients are these men.

    What GotProHealth can do, however, is to make a commitment to helping those players who cannot afford treatment. Complementary and alternative medicine can be miraculous for some people, and can help alleviate the need for so many pain meds, etc.

    If there is a player that you can identify that TRULY cannot afford treatment but would like to try complementary medicine, please contact me at alewis@gotprohealth.com. Let me see what I can do to help!

    Amy Lewis, CEO
    GotProHealth
    GotProHealth logo

  8. RobertinSeattle
    February 9th, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Amy –

    Thanks for considering those men in most dire need. In the next few weeks, we hope to announce a process to offer organizations such as yours a process to locate and qualify players with the most need.

    Your open and flexible approach is refreshing and will go a long way in providing some needed care to those who truly need it most.

    We can only hope that this dialog will also direct the NFLPA and the NFL to follow your example of finding a real way to provide some relief to those who cannot afford it.

    Robert