Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000
Thanks to a white duck we all have become familiar with, I am sure most of you can pronounce the title of this month’s commentary. Although Beverly Spurgeon, director of member services, and I plan to cover a couple of items in this month’s commentary, I wanted to start off by announcing a new partnership that has recently been formed between FMCA and American Family Life Assurance Company (AFLAC). Quite often the benefits that FMCA negotiates for its membership are those that are available at a discount through a group plan. This time FMCA has partnered to offer the AFLAC insurance programs at an association-discounted rate.
If I remember correctly, besides pronouncing the word “AFLAC” during the television commercials, the AFLAC duck also communicates the message that this insurance pays you directly when you become sick “” cash when you need it most. Your regular health insurance should pay most of the doctor and hospital bills. However, usually deductibles and copayments (including those for prescription drugs) are not covered.
Getting sick or injured has financial consequences beyond the medical bills, including such out-of-pocket costs as:
- Travel expenses to and from special treatment centers.
- Food and lodging while you’re away from home.
- Extra household help.
- Home care
Plus, everyday living expenses still have to be met, such as:
- Mortgage or rent payments.
- Motor vehicle loan payments.
- Grocery and utility bills.
Meeting everyday financial obligations while incurring treatment-related bills is difficult, particularly when you are not able to earn a paycheck or are retired on a fixed income. In dual-income households, the financial consequences can be doubly stressful if the healthy spouse is forced to leave work to care for the recuperating partner.
FMCA is happy to announce this benefit to our members, and we encourage you to follow up and find out more about the programs and how they might provide you with peace of mind in future medical situations.
AFLAC eligibility and rates vary from state to state. Most policies are available to those age 65 and under; some are available to applicants age 70 and under. The policies are written based upon the state where you are standing when you apply for coverage. Shortly, a Web site will be available for use by FMCA members only; however, until then, members are encouraged to contact AFLAC district sales coordinator Ruth Wolfangel at (800) 581-9048, extension 18, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Now on to another subject. Quite often we all feel as though we are being treated like a number. And with the systems that FMCA uses today to record and manage membership information, you might feel as though FMCA looks at you as just a number. That is not the case. FMCA is a family of motorhome owners, and we strive to be personal while working with you when you phone or visit the national office. If you call us, you’ll see that we still have a receptionist who answers the phone and expeditiously routes you to the appropriate person who can help you.
I would like to share how and why FMCA has used a numbering system to identify its members over the years. Beverly Spurgeon says it best in a recent letter she wrote to a new member who was concerned about joining an association that assigns numbers to its members.
By Beverly Spurgeon
Director of Membership Services
Dear [Member’s Name],
Thank you for your letter.
From its very beginning in 1963, FMCA has issued membership numbers. An article written by Bob Richter, F1, FMCA’s first national president, was published in Volume 1, Issue 1, of Family Motor Coaching magazine (February 15, 1964) to address this subject and your question. When Mr. Richter wrote his column more than 40 years ago, he referred to “those dratted numbers,” and at the time, there were fewer than 200 association members.
Among the reasons and uses for membership numbers are:
- Businesses and government agencies use identification numbers to make processing easier. We have many members with the exact same names, and keeping records would be difficult without a system to establish and maintain individual information, especially when working with computer systems.
- Membership numbers are used to access various benefits/services. For example, members who use FMCA’s Traveler’s Message Service enter their membership number on their telephone keypad to access messages, and participants in FMCA’s Mail Forwarding Service add their membership number to the forwarding office address to be sure their mail is not sent to another member with the same name.
- Numbers serve as identification for the emblems that members display on their motorhomes. While traveling, members can recognize each other by number and use the annual membership directory as a cross-reference for names.
- Membership numbers indicate when a member joined FMCA in relation to other members, and the prefix indicates their type of membership. In addition to Full family membership (“F” prefix), FMCA has Life membership (“L”), family Associate membership (“A”), and Commercial membership (“C”).
Four decades and more than 359,000 enrollments after Bob Richter wrote about “the dratted number system,” we still have no alternative but to depend on it for record keeping, access to member services, and identifying each other when traveling.
While the numbering system may feel cold, members find the warmth, fellowship, and friendship of FMCA in its chapters and at its area rallies and international conventions. Your membership record shows that you have joined a chapter, and we hope you are able to take part and enjoy what the chapter and FMCA have to offer.