More Terrific New Benefit Rejections

Jun 29, 2011

Once again, retired players got all excited a couple of months ago when we received a new offer for long-term care insurance from the League through the New NFL Alumni – no strings attached!
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So I spent well over an hour filling out all of their paperwork in great detail, including my medical history, medications, surgeries and everything else they could think to ask for in their questionnaire/application.
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And here’s the reminder card I got from TransAmerica with the expiration date highlighted (click on the image to enlarge):
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After over a month-and-a-half of waiting, this is what I got back in the mail (we’ve posted a copy of the correspondence to Scribd for viewing and to make it downloadable. You can also click the Fullscreen button in the left corner to enlarge it for easier navigation (hit the ESC key to close):
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Dave Pear TransAmerica NFL LTC Rejection Letter
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We started getting calls and e-mails from a lot of other players who had also been rejected. Steve Baack – who lives and works down in Oregon now – sent this in:
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“I just thought it completely laughable what I just went through to get the League’s LTC insurance for myself. I actually completely bought the line that the League was finally going to do something on our behalf by paying for a LTC benefit for us. I figured it would be some limited benefit but at least it was something…
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“Well, after jumping through all the hoops to submit the application I just received a notice in the mail from Transamerica that my application had been rejected due to my medical history. I’m wondering if anyone else had this occur, I’m assuming it’s a likely probability. And to think I could have spent the 45 minutes answering questions about my health doing something productive instead.”
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Steve Baack
Detroit Lions
1984-1989
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Steve Baack TransAmerica NFL LTC Rejection Letter
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We’ve heard from a lot of other guys who have identical rejection slips and, of course, the offer is now expired. We’ve also heard from some disability experts with suggestions:
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“In the law, we might call this an “illusory” benefit – i.e., an illusion that there is an actual benefit there. And I think that has been the game plan for years – create a program here, and a program there, and it looks like we are really doing something for retired players! However, the reality is that without a livable pension – accessible and meaningful health care – and a disability system that meets the needs of those engaged in a collision business for the amusement of the masses and the profit of billionaires, programs like this fall well short of meeting the sustenance needs of retired NFL players.
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“When you get your written denial, please share with us. We might then want to also share it with the Insurance Commissioner for the State of Washington.
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“I know that TransAmerica did NOT have permission to issue such policies in some of the states as of a couple of months ago. It may be because some states think that such policies are a scam!”
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And some remarks from a few other retirees who have also gotten denied:
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“I agree with your assessment of the Long Term Care Insurance offering and its application process. I was suspicious of the offering because of its timing, coming as it did just as the new CBA was being negotiated. To me it felt like a potential PR gimmick from management saying ‘Yes we care about our retired guys and as proof, we are offering this program to them.’
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“Out of curiosity, I arranged for an interview. Because of the nature of our group, I was told, pre-existing conditions were fair game. And then came the withering questions and the actual cognitive tests aimed at ascertaining the slightest mental difficulties. Afterwards, I felt that they were attempting to identify those players least likely to require LTC, if any existed, and then offer the program to them. At the same time, I wondered if the League wouldn’t end up with the data yielded by these tests. What better way to get a handle on the collective underlying condition of retired players and thereby devise new ways of skirting the real costs of playing this game.”
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Pat Toomay
Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders
1970 – 1979
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Dave:
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“Thanks for your input. Programs like this are an insult to our intelligence. Do retired NFL Players – who are the foundation of this business – get so little respect that we are expected to accept “phantom” disability plans?”
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As of right now, it appears that this program will likely be withdrawn (if it hasn’t been already) for lack of participation or qualifying applications – several insurance experts have told us that in order to launch, programs like these need to have at least 75% participation of the group. We doubt that 75% of the qualifying retirees applied let alone qualified.
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18 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. David Lewis
    June 29th, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    David Lewis

    Dave,

    Thanks for the update on the LTC offered by the NFL. I, too, made the effort to complete the application form and was eventually denied: third stage kidney disease, heart disease, etc. I thought this program would be of great assistance to my wife in case my health deteriorated to the point that I needed assisted living. In any event, it would be interesting to know how many of those who applied were actually accepted. I suspect not a lot.

    Keep up the good work.

    David Lewis
    Cincinnati Bengals
    1970 – 1973

  2. Dave Pear
    June 29th, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Dave Pear

    I would like to add that in addition to spending over an hour filling out the application for long term care, Heidi and I also spent over three (3) hours on the phone on May 3, 2011 and May 12, 2011 doing a phone interview about medical information they required in order to complete my application. They asked if I wanted to make an appointment with a doctor who would examine me or do it over the phone. Heidi and I decided to conduct the interview over the phone because of that looming May 23 deadline. However, in the end I was denied the phantom or illusionary benefit because I DID play football and had serious life changing injuries.

    But Steve Baack was also denied and Steve is much younger that me and he’s still able to work; his injuries were chronic back shoulder and neck pain along with prescription medication from his doctor. Personally, every retired football player I have ever met has these types of injuries so I question how any football player could even be approved for long term care? Unless this phantom policy has no standard and is just like the Bell/Rozelle Retirement Plan that was designed and created by the Groom Law Group. Is it?

    I will have to admit that after spending over 70 hours filling out forms and telephone interviews and searching for documentation for their earlier joint replacement program (after I had a total left replacement), Mary Ann Fleming did send me a letter and reimbursement for 2 seat cushions and a $5 co-pay which amounted to around $300. But for the 70 hours work we spent, it was not worth it. So I must concede that the joint replacement benefit was a good PR stunt for the NFL. But this long term care (LTC) appears to be another scam. And scams are illegal …unless you’re the NFL.

    We want justice NOW for retired players’ earned disability, pension and medical for life after football.

    Regards,
    Dave & Heidi Pear

  3. Chuck Hurston
    June 29th, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Chuck Hurston

    My wife and I are 68 years old and we did apply for the long term health care program. My wife is in good health. I have had 3 spine surgeries and take over 10 different meds daily for different conditions. They approved both of us and I noticed that the NFL is paying almost $5000 premium per year and my wife’s discounted premium is only $1300 per year, so the program is really good for us.

    Chuck Hurston
    KC Chiefs, Buffalo Bills
    1965 – 1971

  4. Gail R Cogdill
    June 29th, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Gail Cogdill

    I played for the NFL from 1960-1970 Detroit Lions (and Colt and Falcons).

    I also filled out an application and was even interviewed by a nurse who came to our home. We received a letter within 5 days of my application stating that my application was suspended due to lack of adequate finances. And they still wanted my wife to submit an application!

    My wife and I feel that the NFL has yet to be honest with what they promised the retired players. This whole thing was a way to advertise for the insurance company.

    Gail R Cogdill, #89
    Detroit Lions, Baltimore Colts, Atlanta Falcons
    1960 – 1970

  5. Bill Cody
    June 29th, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Bill Cody

    I also received the “Thanks but no thanks” letter.

    My letter said in part, “Due to your memory loss, hypertension, depression, coronary artery disease and cholesterol…” What professional football player my age (66) hasn’t had some “issues”? Wonder why they didn’t mention my 15 orthopedic procedures including 1- hip, 2 knee, & 2 shoulder replacements?

    Bill Cody
    Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles
    1966 – 1972

  6. John Hogan
    June 30th, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    John Hogan

    Insurance plans like this are regulated from state-to-state. I think we need to ask some State Insurance Commissioners to look into this whole situation.

    Was TransAmerica so eager to get this deal that they didn’t realize ahead of time that a lot of the potential insured were beat-up former professional football players dealing with chronic health issues?

    I agree with the comments above – all of the “programs and benefits” available to retired players are no substitute for adequate and fair pensions, accessible disability and REAL health benefits.

    John Hogan
    Disability Attorney & Player Advocate

  7. Pat Matson
    June 30th, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Pat Matson

    I’m also in the rejection BOAT from TransAmerica. It was just another PR move by Roger Goodelle so the public thinks the NFL really cares about the OLD TIMERS who built the game. I can’t believe how much time I spent on the TransAmerica fiasco just to get turned down.

    Pat Matson #73
    AFL Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers
    1966 – 1975

  8. Dave Pear
    June 30th, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Dave & Heidi.jpg

    Long Term Care:

    OK… so let’s see down the road who is the first one to try to make a claim under the policy and have it denied!

    Will the NFL (or the New Alumni – it was a PR move to say it was their program) pay for any long term care for vested players who were turned down for this policy because of their NFL injuries?

    When will the NFL really take responsibility for their injured employees?

    And why does the NFL continue to force Social Security and Medicare to pay their bills? This is why both are broke or going broke.

    Dave & Heidi Pear

  9. George Visger
    June 30th, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    George Visger

    Chuck -

    I’m very glad to see someone receiving EARNED benefits. Good for you – you and your wife have earned every penny. It would be interesting to compare your submissions with all the other denials.

    I have not even bothered to apply, as memory was an excluding factor.

    George Visger
    San Francisco 49ers 80 & 81
    Survivor of 9 NFL Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
    Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits

  10. Ron Pritchard
    June 30th, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Ron Pritchard

    I guess I’m also being turned down for long-term insurance by TransAmerica. They said that my answers on the worksheet that deals with my future resources appears to not be enough for future long-term care. WOW – what a deal! Remember, men – ethics and morals is what should define us as human beings, not money and power! Keep the faith!

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  11. Emily Suggs
    July 1st, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    Walt Suggs

    My husband Walt Suggs applied several months ago and we have heard nothing from them since… they even had a nurse come out.

    And then the nurse told me – his wife of 50 years – I could not even stay in the room and hear her questions …very weird!

    Emily Suggs
    for Walt Suggs
    Houston Oilers
    1962 – 1971

  12. Michael C. McCoy
    July 3rd, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Mike C. McCoy

    I also called TransAmerica for a pre-interview and was told that I would not qualify for the long term benefits. However a sales pitch was made to my wife, she would qualify. Dementia is my diagnosis. Once again, here’s another carrot for you to nibble on.

    Mike McCoy
    Green Bay Packers
    1976 – 1983

  13. Carl Barzilauskas
    July 8th, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Carl Barzilauskas

    I too, was rejected from the long term care insurance. The funny thing was that one of the reasons for rejection was the same neck injury that ended my playing days. Plus a lot of other conditions that went with the long-term effects resulting from that neck injury.

    I was under the understanding that a group medical plan like this does not reject anyone. That’s how it has been in group settings during my life. I am considered disabled by Social Security and retired for the last four years. I am 60.

    God Bless you all,
    Carl Barzilauskas
    NY Jets & Green Bay Packers
    1974 – 1979

  14. Lou Piccone
    July 9th, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Lou Piccone

    This is truly a crap shoot regarding LTHC. Hell, in NY it’s not even offered! I was under the impression that when a benefit is offered, that benefit should be consistent and not discriminate. If I’m correct, we all played the same game at different times together. Technically, we were and are on the same team – the Retired Guys – and our injuries are private. However, they are common over the Class of “Retired Football Players.”

    We need consistency, we need a solution to the carnage generated by the GAME/WAR that we all participated in. Now I don’t mean to compare our competition to the WARS that our Armed Forces engage in; however, as football players the assault weapons are human projectiles aimed to seek and destroy. There are no ‘special’ cases! There should be no discrimination regarding Health Care in the Real Life of the Retired Football Player’s experience. After all, we are the lab rats; we’re the ones that they’re studying to make sure that the current players are properly protected, providing benefits that are appropriate to deal with the very real “afterlife” of a brutal sport.

    The current regime has dropped us from the bounty and only included us where they have to. They have studied us to collect the data necessary to give validity to their asking price to cover current players and their fat cat agents.

    For All of Us who Made Up the History of the Game:

    Perhaps the retired players should put an injunction on the NFL and the BFLPA to cease and desist using any of the likenesses of the retired players that represent the history of the game of football until we get our retired player “quality of life issues” taken care of sufficiently. Stop the functions of the HOF, stop any opportunity that the NFL/NFLPA have to sensationalize the game or advertise the game using retired/former players names or likenesses in conjunction with football.

    Stop their revenue from the history side of the game and tell them to create a new one or make things right with the money that has been generated through the efforts of retired players. Stop being so greedy. After all it will all blow over in a few years and retired players of today will be only a memory but until then, let’s make the memory, a satisfying, as-healthy-as-it-can-be life – after professional football.

    Lou Piccone
    NY Jets – 74-76
    Buffalo Bills – 77-83

  15. John Hogan
    July 11th, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    John Hogan

    Lou,

    With regard to the LTC benefit only – perhaps we should request that the NFL pays any long-term health care costs for those guys who either didn’t qualify or – for those like you – who are in a state that doesn’t allow the issuance of such policies?

    And BTW, why doesn’t NY allow the sale and issuance of such policies? I do not know for certain but often it’s because they (the State Insurance Commission) do not think the benefit is really worth while!

    (Dave – “Illusory Benefit,” as you were saying!)

    John Hogan
    Disability Attorney & Player Advocate

  16. Paul Rochester
    July 24th, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Paul Rochester

    Dave,

    I, too, have been turned down for long-term care insurance offered by the NFL from TransAmerica Life Insurance Company. It was the same form letter as all of the others. My reason was “due to coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and diabetes mellitus.” They need to open their window of opportunity for any ex-NFL player to qualify.

    They were more than happy to approve my wife, Nancy, for LTC at the rate of $3,390.45 per year subject to yearly increases. I can see why: Nancy is in perfect health and her mother is 94 years old, still lives in her home and drives herself to stores, restaurants and to her gym!

    My NFL pension amounts to $201.36 per month as I was advised by the NFLPA to take it at 45 years old since I would never live past 58 years of age. I just had my 73rd birthday. Also, I’ve been turned down twice for disability and told not to apply again! I have had both knees replaced, a cochlear implant, one eye severely damaged, broken fingers and more injuries directly as the result of 10 years of playing in the AFL (now the AFC of the NFL). I am one of 20 players to play all 10 years of the AFL.

    I don’t drink alcohol (40 years sober) nor smoke. I work out at my gym 4-5 times a week and go to the Mayo Clinic every six month for checkups or anything else needed.

    Anyway, I thought I would get this off my chest and share it with others.

    I really appreciate you making it possible for us all to know we are not alone.

    Sincerely,
    Paul “Rocky” Rochester
    Dallas Texans/KC Chiefs 1960-63
    1962 AFL champs in longest championship game
    NY Jets 1963-69
    Super Bowl III Champions

  17. Alison Owens
    July 25th, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Terry Owens

    Dave,

    My husband, Terry Owens, was also turned down for the LTC through TransAmerica. Given his health status, I thought he would be. TransAmerica indicated to me however, that I could apply and receive the spousal discount. We would have to still apply for Terry, even though he would be turned down. Sure enough, mine came back approved – but with NO DISCOUNT. The rate I was quoted doubled.

    I think we have been misled by both the NFL and TransAmerica. In essence, I could have applied anywhere for LTC but went with this program because of the “discount” implied. Since most of the players wouldn’t qualify, I believe this was all a ploy to get new policies from the spousal market.

    Alison Owens
    wife of Terry Owens
    San Diego Chargers
    1966 – 1975

  18. Tom Vaughn
    July 27th, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    Tom Vaughn

    Terry…I was turn down also! I really don’t want to believe it but it’s the same old excuses. We won’t get a DIME!

    Tom Vaughn
    Detroit Lions
    1965 – 1971